I want ask you about prayer. God knows our needs so why do we pray? What kind of prayer is God forced to answer?  I want to know the  laws about prayer. because sometimes I am disappointed when I pray.  I say to myself that there is no evidences that God will answer my prayer.  Why do we need to pray if God already knows what we need?


God wants a relationship with us.  In fact, that is the reason he created us—so that we could love him and he could love us (and we could love one another).  The reason I know this is because it is the theme of the entire Bible, but it is perhaps best represented by Genesis Ch 1-3.  To understand why God wants us to pray, consider the relationship between a parent and a child.  The analogy is not perfect, but it is helpful.  As a parent, I want to give love to my children and I want them to love me.  I want them to have a blessed and fulfilled life.  I want to be able to give to them and, ideally, to give to them what it is their vision to have.  This is much like God and his relationship with us.  Prayer is perhaps the most important part of how we have a relationship with God.  Prayer is talking to God, but it is also expressing emotion, feeling, vision, and desires to God.  God wants this, not because he does not already know it, but because he wants a relationship with us.  As a parent of children, especially when they were younger, I wanted to give them what they desired, but I did not give them everything they desired, because I knew better than they what was good for them and I did not want to spoil them.  This applies to our prayer to God.  Passages that come to mind are Matthew 7:9-11 or Luke 11:11-12.  If we ask God for a fish, he will not give us a snake (or a hot dog).  Here we see that God wants to bless us and give us what we ask for.  He could give us what we want even if we do not ask, but if we ask and he gives it to us, it helps us to be closer to God because we realize that God loves us and is answering our prayers.  Another helpful passage is the Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8).  Here we are assured that if we continually ask, if it is not out of selfish motives (James 4:3) and if it is within the broad range of God’s will (1 John 5:14-15), we will receive what we ask for.  Because of the relational aspect, asking is important to receiving.

God is not forced to answer any prayer.  By that I mean that he is never forced to give the answer YES. The answer can be NO.  Again, I will return to the analogy of the relationship between a parent and his or her children.  The parent is not required to say yes to any request.  If either the parent or the child, for that matter, are required to do anything, then it is not a matter of a relationship, but more like a contract.  But Jesus calls us friends (John 15:15), not slaves.  I cannot give you laws about prayer, but only principles about prayer, because relationships are not about laws!  If you pray to God demanding that he answer your prayer with a YES, first of all that is not love, and second of all, you should probably expect the answer NO in that case.  I know this because I am a parent.  If my child demands something, the answer will be no!  We cannot manipulate God.  There are no laws about prayer, but there are general principles.  I already have given you a few of them.  God will give us what we ask for in humility (John 14:13-14, Matthew 7:9-11), but sometimes we need to keep on asking (Luke 18:1-8).  In addition, if we ask for something that is outside his will (for example if we ask him for permission to sin), then the answer will be no (1 John 5:14-15), and if we ask out of purely selfish motives, the answer will also be no (James 4:3).  These are not laws of prayer, but they are principles of asking and receiving from God.  But we should remember that prayer is not principally about asking God for stuff.  It is more importantly about expressing our love to God, our praise of him and pouring out our hearts and desires to him.   I had a phone conversation with my daughter just yesterday. She shared a recent victory, some fond memories and her vision for the future.  It was a great and fulfilling conversation for both her and me.  This helps me to understand prayer.

Lastly, remember that if you pray with confident and faithful expectation, but allowing that God may say NO, that is a good thing, but if you pray as a test of God, do not expect a positive result.  If you say to God something like “If you do not answer this prayer, I will stop believing so much in you”—if you try to manipulate God, then you should not expect to receive what you have asked for.

John Oakes

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