God already knows our needs, so why pray?

God knows our needs before we ask him for help (Matthew 6:8). So did my Mother when I was young. She could tell when I needed comfort, when I needed a jolly good talking to, and when I needed encouragement. She could read my moods, suss out what was bothering me, distract my attention from something harmful, and know when a storm was brewing in my head.

I learnt from her that there were people who knew me better than I did, which at times was embarrassing, but it was also reassuring that someone knew you inside out – and cared. You weren’t alone and helpless. Someone was looking out for you, who always had your best interests in mind.

It was simply knowing that such a person existed that helped. Because that was my real need. It was a person. I needed someone I could go to at any time to share my troubles with, express my frustrations, longings and dreams to, who could also calm my passions, help me put the past behind me and give me practical advice for the future. It was the one-on-one contact with that person that was so important. It wasn’t so much my actual needs being met that got me through my childhood, it was knowing there was a person who would drop everything to help me.

And God the Father wants to be that person too (Matthew 6:33), the importance of which is huge because he knows our parents’ help is limited. They can’t always drop everything to help, or talk every day for hours, and as they age they get tired and need help themselves! Friends may partly fill the gap, but they have their own troubles and busy lives.

So who else can we turn to? But that’s the point. With the kinds of needs we have, there isn’t anyone else who can totally provide for us. And certainly not someone who can answer our need with a good and perfect gift every time (James 1:17). So why does God want us to lean on him with our needs? Because he’s our Dad, and we’re his children, and children need their Dad. Because that’s our deepest need, and always has been – it’s our longing for a real Father who holds out his arms to us when we come running, who proves to us again and again that he’s real, he’s there, his door is wide open and we can call on him any time for anything.

And when we cry out, “Father,” he loves it, because now his children have cottoned on TO HIM as their greatest need, at last.


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