The pastor at our church had a very interesting sermon this morning. It was all about the answer to the burning question in so many peoples’ hearts… If God already knows everything that is going to happen, what is the point of praying for certain outcomes. People ask this question often after a big, national tragedy when questions are hard to answer. You pray to an omnipotent being about things that have already been decided.
And another question of how do you pray? Like what’s the format? I’m reminded of a child’s prayer.
“God, please tell my brother to be nice to me. Oh, and I want a pony for my birthday.” Not exactly how the Bible suggests structured prayer should go, but it’s a genuine, truthful prayer.
You see, prayer isn’t about getting what you want from God like He’s a genie. Prayer is the time when you open your heart to God and be honest. And if you honestly want a pony, you should tell Him. First, the Bible says, give him his proper praise. Then ask for forgiveness for your sins. I like to think of it as coming in with a clean slate. From that point then you can just start talking about what you’re wanting or needing in your life. Like a pony.
God knows you’re not getting a pony. But you continue to ask and ask and beg and beg. If you tried this, night after night, month after month, year after year, your experiences in life would change. Your mind would open and the things that made you think a pony was important as a child would fade into bigger things. By talking with God through prayer, you may end up not wanting the pony at all. So I’d say he will answer your prayers, just not in the way you expected.
I rarely would argue or get into a philosophical sparring match over anything Christian, as I’m probably the least knowledgeable person about the Bible, but I did find some great comfort in this sermon for when Emerson eventually asks about praying to God when He knows what’s going to happen.
Or when she asks me for a pony. Now I can just tell her, “You better pray to God for one.”