Our Father in Heaven

One of the fascinating things that strikes me as I read Matthew 6 is these words:

“Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”[1]

It is often suggested that if God already knows everything and even predestines everything then there is no point in praying at all.  God already knows and has already made his mind up so what is the use?  Yet, here, Jesus argues that it is exactly because The Father knows what we need that we should pray to him.

Often, I imagine prayer as being about me needing to make God alert to something or to get him to change his mind, to kind of twist his arm. Yet, the first is not necessary and the second not possible.  You see, when we think of things like human emotions then we think about those emotions or passions and affections as things that cause us to change, things that influence and overwhelm us. Therfefore by making me feel happy, sad or angry, you can get me to do things. However, God does not change and he cannot be overpowered or manipulated in anyway. This does not mean that he is without love, joy and yes, anger at sin. It does mean that he does not experience emotions in the way we do. 

So, if I don’t pray in order to get God to change his mind in the light of new information or in response to his emotions, then why do I pray? I want to suggest that prayer is primarily about the relationship. God loves us, loves to hear us speak to him and chooses to work through our prayers to accomplish his purposes.

It is a delight to be able to come to a loving father in prayer knowing that he is not weak and uniformed, knowing that I don’t have to try and force him to do what is good because he already knows that is good for us and chooses to do that.

It is good to know that God is my father and I can depend on him for everything.

[1] Matthew 6:8.

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