Why Do I Have to Pray?
Why does God make me pray for something he already wants to give me?
I admire your knowledge of the promises of God.
Your question reveals to me that you know a few important Bible verses: “ʻFor I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NASB95.) And this one as well: ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7, 8.) Later on, the Apostle James echoed the same idea: “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2.)
Praying to God is the same as asking, right? So why, if God already knows his plans for us, does he want us to ask?
Your thought-provoking question points out the fact that God plainly declares he has given everyone a destiny. The Bible calls this our “portion.” Where we live, how we make our living, what family we have, our talents and achievements—all are planned by God from the beginning. But then, Jesus himself…knowing that Jeremiah the prophet has already spoken the Word of the Lord about this subject…proclaims, “you need to ask for what I plan to give you” as if to say, “you won’t get it otherwise.” James hammers the idea home that lots of people are living without things because they haven’t asked God for them. All the while, the Lord is ready and willing to supply their assigned portion (Philippians 4:19.)
Clearly this is a conundrum. It’s one of those Christian problems we face regarding the speculation of scriptural conflict, confusion or worse, error. I assure you none of that is true. There are no errors in the Bible. As you may have heard me say many times in print, “We must always consider context.” What does it say elsewhere in the Bible about praying for our portion to be given to us, even though it’s already assigned? In a nutshell, all of Scripture points to one important thing we must never forget: God gave us free-will and God will never violate that. He may have warehouses of opportunities, provisions, material things, money, talents, skills and blessings set aside for us, but he may not distribute those unsolicited lest it be an invasion against our will. What do I mean?
I’ll use my life as an example: God knew from the beginning of time that I would one day be born and grow up to become a minister. He would not, however, force that vocation upon me. I had to come to conclusions about what I was designed to do and what I wanted for my life. My journey to the pulpit held many winding roads, potholes and ditches as I sorted out the truth about my destiny and purpose. Finally one day I decided that the best job for me would be the ministry, and I asked God to open the door. The Lord is patient and kind, always. He waited until I was ready to ask for what I wanted and needed. Only then did that portion of my life unfold. Only then would I be able to receive my destiny and everything that came with it. I am now living the life I prayed for and was finally able to receive. It had to be my choice even though it was God’s plan.
Don’t be afraid to ask God for what you need, but more importantly, what you want. He’s a good father, so sometimes his gifts will be withheld until you come to him and ask for them. Why? Because it is his joy to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32.) And all parents love to watch their children open gifts.
Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information and booking, please visit: www.adriennewgreene.com