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What is the purpose of Prayer?

What the question says, why do people pray if God knows everything?


3 Answers 3


This is kind of like asking, "Why should you tell your Dad you love him if he already knows?" It's not about conveying information, it's about fellowship. God created us for fellowship with Him. We don't pray because God needs to be reminded of our needs, we are supposed to pray because we are to partner with Him to see His will be done. He choose not to force us to do His will, but that we are to choose to seek His will. Jesus told us to pray in this way:

Pray in this way "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

Prayer recognizes God as our Father, who is holy, and seeks to put our mindset in alignment with His.

  • Exactly. One's Parents knows that daughter needs something, but they want her to ask herself. This is not very different from our relationship to God. Commented Sep 24, 2011 at 22:32
  • @2tim424: if only this style of prayer is valid, I am afraid 75% of people prayers are not valid...objectively looking at this, but perhaps that is the only kind of prayer and we do not really understnd how God works.. Commented May 31, 2013 at 21:23

Definitions first... Omniscience means "all knowing", and this is how the Bible describes God. For example, consider the following Bible verses -

Our Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite. (Psalm 147:5)

For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. (Job 28:24)

God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. (1 John 3:20)

So perhaps I can paraphrase your question like this... "Since God already knows what everyone needs, why do we need to ask Him for things in prayer?"

I think it's definitely true that God already knows all our needs. Jesus says exactly that -

"When you pray, don't babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they'll be heard for their many words. Don't be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him." (Matthew 6:7-8)

Still, Jesus goes on to teach the disciples how to pray, so He still thought it was vital. And James also points out the necessity of prayer when he tells Christians that -

"You do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:2)

So it seems that the Bible teaches that God knows all we need, yet He (sometimes at least) doesn't give us what we need until we ask. Why is that? I'm not sure if the Bible tells us exactly, but I believe it is because the act of praying, and then receiving answers to our prayers, actually increases our faith, and strengthens our relationship with God.


Why pray if God knows everything...

  1. Well, think about what it is like when a child is growing up. Children ask their parents all sorts of questions. Would a child says "I know my parents know everything, so I don't need to ask them." That wouldn't make sense. In order for the parent to guide the child and pass along wisdom, the child often asks questions. It's the same for us. We want God's help, we can't see where we are going, but He can. Just because He knows doesn't mean we will somehow get His wisdom. We must ask.

  2. Prayer is not like a magic system, where we put in a prayer, and out pops an answer. Prayer is relationship. Think again about the child and the parent. The parent longs for the child to love him/her and spend time together. It's the same with God. You know in a conversation you talk, you wait for a response, then you respond. It's give and take. When you first start praying, you may feel like you are doing all the talking. But, keep at it...as you pray day after day and get into a relationship with our Father, you will begin to "hear" Him. Not really like an audible voice, but, a small quiet voice inside. If you get confused, remember, if the voice puts you down, it's not God. God encourages and loves us. Even when He corrects us, it's in a loving way.