“If God Already Knows, Why Should I Pray?”

SERIES – Hard Sayings of Jesus

Matthew 6:5-8 NIV

5     “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

6     But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

7     And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

8     Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Mark 11:24 NIV – Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Genesis 22:12 NIV – “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Kinds of Prayers

I. Prayers God rejects

God rejects:

A. Boastful prayers

Matthew 6:1-4 NIV1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 14:23 NIV – After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone…

Matthew 14:18-19 NIV18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.

B. Babbling

1 Kings 18:26-29 NIV26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

II. Prayers God receives

1 John 5:14-15 NIV14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.

Your will be done can be prayed with resentment, resignation and anticipation.

  • We pray to adjust our hearts to God.
  • We pray to have a sense of God’s presence.
  • We pray to commit or recommit ourselves to God’s will.
  • We pray because God promises to reward us.

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