Is there really any reason to pray intentionally if God already knows our hearts and souls better than we do? I mean, if He already knows, and if He can and does answer the prayers of our hearts when we don’t even realize what we’ve prayed for, then why bother? Why not just let Him take care of everything without bothering Him?
I believe the first and most important reason to pray intentionally is that it helps us get closer to God. The words we use don’t matter to Him nearly as much as to us. We need to express what is in our hearts so we will better understand where we fall short in giving God the glory He is due, how our pain or disappointment or hurts have kept us from trusting Him, and how we need to change in order to live that abundant life He wants for us.
Praying intentionally is the best way to worship God in Spirit and truth, which is, after all, what He wants most from us. John 4:23-24. You see, we cannot really know the truth about ourselves unless we are willing to take a good, long, unflinching look at ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost impossible to avoid fooling ourselves and being fooled by that liar, Satan. If our introspection is only that, a solitary, inward look at ourselves, we will miss most of what is most important. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you don’t see what you don’t see. Unless we present our thoughts, desires, heartaches, plans, and dilemmas to someone else, we don’t have any way to see when we are off-course, off-kilter, or off our rocker.
We could just talk to a good friend or anyone we love and trust. But, just like us, they can only see from their perspective. Two limited perspectives are better than one, but my limited perspective plus God’s unlimited, eternal perspective is infinitely (pun intended) better. God can advise, correct, and enlighten me as no one here on earth can.
He is also a gentleman who waits for us to come to Him. Unless our hearts are open and actively seeking Him, His provision and guidance are not activated. By the same token, unless we openly discuss what we’re thinking about, worrying over (pointlessly, of course), or stupefied by, He will allow us to work it out on our own. We are free to make all the mistakes we want. We can run away from Him as fast and long as we want. We can exercise our free will until we are experts at doing exactly what we want when we want with no one to blame but ourselves when it all falls apart.
Or, we can just start talking to Him, the One who created us and loves us regardless of our rebellion and foolish pride. If we take just a little time to talk to Him, He will always shine the light on the truth. Maybe then we’ll see the way out of the corner we’ve worked our way into. Maybe we’ll discover that it was time well spent. It is always our choice.
Amen and amen.