March 1, 2001 - Prayer is a key that God has placed in your hand.
by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
Prayer is a conduit through which God's power and provision flows.
One of the questions people often ask about prayer is: "If God knows what I need, why do I need to ask Him for it?" Jesus tells us, in Matthew 6, that we do not need to worry about things because the Father knows everything that we need.(1) He says, "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."(2)
Yet Jesus teaches us to pray: "Give us today our daily bread."(3) In even stronger terms He says, "Ask and it will be given to you."(4) Jesus assures us that God knows everything we need, yet He tells us to ask God for it. Consider why God has set up things so that prayer releases into our lives what He knows we need and what He wants to give us.
God Wants Our Hearts
It's simple for God to meet your needs. Everything in the universe is His. Everything is at His command. God could easily do for you and provide for you everything you need without waiting for you to ask. But that is not how He has structured His relationship with us.
God loves you with a passion that you cannot begin to comprehend. He desires to live in intimacy with you. Prayer is much, much more than the words you say that come sandwiched between "Dear God" and "Amen." Prayer is the continual interchange of love between you and the Father. Prayer is an openness to and an awareness of His presence and power in your life. He wants full possession of your heart. He wants you to live in the experience of His love for you.
Imagine what it might be like if God met your needs without engaging you in the process. His provision would be like a coincidence or "just the way things happen." But because you have the privilege of seeing Him meet your needs in response to prayer, you begin to understand how much He cares about you. You see how He provides for you even in the smallest details. You learn that He will provide in unexpected ways—ways that take you by surprise. You learn that a life lived prayerfully is a life lived beyond your limits.
In petitioning God, you are recognizing Him as the Source of everything: "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."(5) God tells you to ask for what you need because this interaction keeps you aware that He is your Source. No matter what method God uses to supply your needs, He is the ultimate Source of all that you receive.
Sometimes God is waiting for you to ask because until you see your need, you will not recognize His supply. He waits until the need is real to you. He waits until you have come to the end of your own resources; until you have tried everything you know to try. He waits for you to turn to Him as the one and only Source.
Prayer Is a Relationship
The foundation of a prayerful life is knowing God. God has made many promises in His Word, and when you know the Promiser, you can trust His promises. When your focus is knowing God, you will come to trust His promises and the power of prayer will become your reality.
How do you come to know God more personally and intimately? Soak yourself in His Word. Absorb its truth and wisdom into your heart. Live in uncompromising obedience to Him. Set aside a time each day to focus on Him without distractions. Be in fellowship with other believers who have your passion for knowing Him. As you keep your life open to God through these disciplines, you will come to know Him intimately, and you will come to trust in Him. Peace will be a natural state of your soul. And you will find that you have moved from "saying prayers" to "living prayer."