He Already Knows

“Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8).

It is tempting to read this verse and conclude that prayer must not be very important at all, if God already knows what we need before we ask Him. Yet Jesus did not view this as a hindrance to prayer, but an incentive. Perhaps if we ask the right question we will realize that the answer is poignant. After all, what can I say to God if He knows everything? Some might conclude that it is nothing, but Jesus says, “Everything!” The apostle elaborates when He writes, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Consider:

Because He already is an expert on our needs, God is never surprised or unprepared. He is already well-stocked. “In our Lord we have someone with whom we can share our anger, joy, fear, frustration, delight, endless struggles with sin, hurt, loneliness – our real selves. This is the powerful liberating honesty which should result from understanding God’s omniscience. With God, we can be somebody: our self; we don’t have to be somebody else” (The God Who Hears, W. Bingham Hunter, p. 43).

If a large store existed that always stocked everything you needed, you would never conclude, “They have everything I need, therefore, I don’t need to shop there.” Rather, you would think, “I am always going to shop there because they already have everything I need.” God is not like a small convenience store that only carries the minimum. He is an expert on you, me, and everybody else. He knows what we need to be fulfilled, happy, content, secure, and saved. He is never out-of-stock.

We only hurt ourselves when we think that we can hide from God, or keep some of our needs away from His gaze (Jeremiah 23:23-24, Psalm 139).

“What is to be made of all this? First, it is better to pour out your heart and soul to God in honest expression of hurt, frustration and impatience than it is to repress these feelings and think they are hidden from God. Second, when you are feeling this way, don’t withdraw from worship. When Asaph came into the sanctuary of God things began to make more sense (Psalm 73:16). Third, confess your sin – frustration does not excuse unrighteousness. Indulging in self-pity and persisting in isolation will only make matters worse. Fourth, spend time reading the Psalms and reflect honestly on your spiritual heritage. Others have been at such a point before and have come through it... Jesus has also been where you are. He knew suffering, grief and experienced injustice (Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-8)” (Hunter, pp. 176-177).