We tend to think of prayer as having an effect on God and His decision making process. It is sort of like petitioning a parent for something desired. If God is sovereign and omniscient, how can we change His mind on anything? He already knows what we are going to pray about before the situation even occurred, before we realized we were going to pray, before we were born, before the Earth was made He knew what we would be praying for and had already determined whether or not He would answer the prayer with a yes, no, or wait. Since this is true, we might ask, “Why should I even pray?” Simply put, we should pray because we are told to be in prayer without ceasing. So the short answer is that we do it to be obedient to God.
We are going to look at some deeper reasons to pray. Just like a child who understands to obey out of knowledge of punishment matures into obedience out of love and respect so too should mature Christians obey. We move on to deeper understandings. I think that prayer is a blessing, grace, and it is sanctifying. We are blessed because of the work of Christ He made it possible for us to pray directly to God with Him as our intercessor instead of a human priest in a temple. Christ hears us because the Holy Spirit has made our prayers acceptable to God. It is a grace, because in prayer we sense the relationship with God and feel closer to Him. It is something He has given us to involve us in the carrying out of His will. It is sanctifying because as we are conformed to His word and will we pray for the things that our new natures desire. This also ties into the grace of prayer. Through prayer we express the desires of the new person. We show and see our new love. We can start to understand how God is using us in His sovereignty to accomplish His will when we pray. It is a sweet moment to come to God in prayer for any reason when we know we are being obedient to Him in our prayers. Our obedience is worship.
We are free to think our thoughts, feel our feelings, and do our deeds, but only in the will of the Creator in as much as He has ordained. We could go our entire lives without ever being enlightened to this reality. Many people do go on feeling, thinking, and doing without ever knowing the reasons behind it. Their lives remain a mystery to them. It is like a big uncertain, unfolding story where they are the unqualified masters of their own destinies. We could go on believing we are the masters of our own destinies. Matter of fact, Hollywood loves to promote this ideology. (A very good reason to be suspicious) A cast die does not land, a bird doesn’t fall dead from the sky, and man doesn’t direct his steps, God has determined all things. This doesn’t diminish our experiences or dull our feelings. If anything it should give us great peace as we go on about our days. “…And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…” The two ideas do not conflict. They are not mutually exclusive. Just because we might not understand exactly how this works doesn’t mean that it doesn’t. So I encourage you to go on praying out of obedience and love towards God. After all it is for our good to do what He has willed.