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Need help in your life? Then pray.

Some people wonder why we should pray. If God knows everything, they ask, doesn’t He already know what we need?

God does know everything. And, yes, He knows exactly what we need before we even ask for it (Matthew 6:8). But we have to remember that the purpose of prayer isn’t to inform God of what’s going on in our lives or the world. Rather, it’s a way to voluntarily communicate our hearts to Him, to open up and invite Him into our circumstances, and to show that we trust Him. Prayer is a voluntary act of worship that brings us closer to God.

When we pray, God hears more than our words. He listens to our hearts. Prayer is not an event; it’s a way of life that brings us into relationship with God. Through our honesty, openness, and sincerity, we build an intimate relationship with Him that’s based on our trust and patience.

The psalmist encourages us to begin each day by lifting our voices to the Lord: “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3, NLT).* In fact, we can fill our whole day with conversations with God, who will hear us anytime. “Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress,” the psalmist said, “and the Lord hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).

In the face of accusations and slander, we are to give ourselves totally to prayer. David said, “I love them, but they try to destroy me with accusations even as I am praying for them!” (Psalm 109:4). David was attacked by evil people who slandered him. Through prayer, he was able to remain strong and encouraged and be a friend to his enemies.

Oswald Chambers said, “God wants us to pray before we do anything at all. Make prayer a priority. It is life to us.” “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1). As the life of a deer depends on water, so our lives depend on God. We draw close to Him and are satisfied in Him through prayer.

Let God know that He is the one you seek. He’s the one you need to help you through your circumstances. Then let Him guide you. Don’t fall into the habit of making your plans and then asking God to bless them. Don’t pray only in moments of need. He isn’t a genie in a bottle waiting to grant you every wish.

For a long time, I prayed for God to open the prison doors and release me. I wanted God to change my circumstances. But as God used my circumstances to change me and those around me, I realized that the One who knows everything knows what’s best for me. I trust Him even though I don’t understand why my prayers are delayed. I know God hears my prayers, and He’ll work out every situation in my life for my good, because He loves me. He has proven Himself time and time again.

If you haven’t seen an answer to your prayer, be persistent. Jesus told the story of a widow’s persistent request in Luke 18. Her persistence caused her to receive her heart’s desire. Persistence isn’t endless repetition. It’s being persistent in your faith. Don’t give up. Nothing can substitute for prayer, especially in circumstances that seem impossible. He hears us when our words are offered to Him with a sincere heart, and He will come to our aid in ways that we might not expect or ever have imagined.

God may delay His answer, but it’s always for our good. Our loving Father cares and, when we cry out to Him, He hears us. He welcomes our prayers and encourages us to come to Him.

“Dear Lord, life can seem too hard sometimes. I must confess that I don’t always understand Your purposes in my circumstances. Please help me to learn to trust You and wait patiently for Your response. And I pray that my testimony can help someone else to better understand how to pray and what to expect from their prayers. Amen.”

* Bible quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

God Hears

by Roy A. Borges
From the August 2016 Signs