God doesn’t need to pray. I’ve spent the last year teaching about prayer and all the reasons we pray. It occurred to me that God receives our prayers but doesn’t pray. Jesus intercedes for us, but his Father is the recipient of those conversations. God speaks to his creation, but if He asks a question He already knows the answer. God’s questions are always for the sake of the person who needs the answer.
God was looking for Adam and Eve in the Garden. He knew where they were hiding, but he wanted them to realize they were lost. So God asked, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:1)
Jonah had run away, been trapped in the belly of a fish, spit out on the land, and had finished preaching God’s warning to the Ninevites. He was waiting on the Lord to deliver the judgment He had said would come to those people for the evil they had done. God chose to offer grace for their repentance instead, and Jonah was angry. God asked Jonah, “Do you have a reason to be angry?” (Jonah 4:1–4). Jonah was thinking about the trials he had endured instead of the personal sins he had committed himself.
God wanted his message delivered to the Israelites. He did not issue an order; he asked questions. Isaiah 6:8 says, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Note the word “us” which represents the Trinity. God’s questions reminded Isaiah that he was created with the right to choose God’s power and presence in his life.
God doesn’t need to ask questions, but He does. He asks us to think about the answers because He knows the thought process will help us understand what we need to know. Is that why God asks us to pray? Prayer is a way to benefit others and find guidance for our lives. But it is also a way for us to understand what God wants us to know.
William Hull wrote: “Prayer is as much a matter of discovering what God wants as it is a matter of letting God know what we want.” What does God want us to pray about today? Should we examine the questions that cross our minds a little more closely?
As we hear the news each day, what questions come to mind? Are we hiding from God’s word on the subject? Does God want us to realize we have lost his point of view? Do we hear him say, “Where are you on this issue?”
There are individuals or nations in this world that seem evil and cruel and that deny the true God. Do we wait for God to bring his judgment? Do we think that somehow we are better or more loved by the Creator than they are? Or do we hear him say, “Do you have a reason to be angry?”
God has chosen to make us disciples, gifted us with his Holy Spirit, and guides us daily to the people who need to hear his truth. As we pray for other people and wonder if we should speak, what we should speak and when we should speak? Are those questions the voice of God in our thoughts saying, “Can I send you? Will you go for us?” Are you and I willing to volunteer?
As we pray, let’s consider William Hull’s words. Prayer is as much a matter of discovering what God wants as it is a matter of letting God know what we want. Let’s pay attention to the questions that float through our minds each day. God doesn’t need the answers, but if He is the one asking, we do.
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