All Knowing God, Why Pray?

I’m not finding this question anywhere, although I’m sure it’s been asked plenty of times, so I apologize.

If God is all knowing and has a plan for us set forth before we are even born, why do we pray that God grants us certain things. Isn’t his decision already made up? What will praying do to change his will?

Thanks for the replies.

41 And he was withdrawn away from them a stone’s cast; and kneeling down, he prayed, 42 Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done. 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. 44 And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground. 45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow.

I once heard something like: prayer won’t change God’s mind, but prayer might change your mind.

Think along the lines that God can provide us with strength and guidance in our daily life. He knows all things but He still gives us free will to choose our actions and to live our life, and in many ways to pick our own course that we go down.

Basically, I think that God knows all that we are going to do, but doesn’t make us do anything.

Anyway, God is all merciful, all-good and worthy of praise and worship. In itself this is a reason to pray and to give Him thanks.

I heard this too except as
"Prayer doesn’t change God, Prayer changes us"

Same sentiments and couldn’t say it better.

Yes God is all knowing, but we aren’t. If we want to know God’s will in our lives we must ask him.


I think Msgr Paul Glenn puts it aptly. This is an excerpt from his book entitled " Apologetics" published in 1931.

Q: “Well, if God is immutable,He is utterly changeless how can my prayers make any difference? If God’s decrees are all from eternity how can they be affected by prayers offered in time?”

A; God’s eternal decrees need not be affected. God has prepared from an eternity,an answer to EVERY prayer that can be possibly be made; and such answer is part of his eternal decrees. Of course the prayer must be offered, else the prepared answer cannot be given. Hence, the necessity of the prayer…

… Still, we need not go to Scripture for a proof of the point in question. Reason makes the matter clear. God, the all perferct Father of Men, has implanted in the hearts of His children a longing for his gifts and a tendency to ask for them; and this would be futile on the part of God if prayer could not be effectively offered: and God performs no futilities, for He is all wise. Thus our prayers DO make a difference, a great difference, and ALL THE DIFFERENCE. The ETERNAL answer is waiting in every petition - but the petition MUST be made. The boundless gifts of God await the offering of diligent prayer ---- and ONLY the diligent prayer must be offered. There is no prayer that a man can offer to God that God has not known (foreknown as we say in our time limited way), and for which He has failed to answer from an eternity. There is no more impious remark than “There is no use praying; everything is fated and fixed.”

Nihil obstat. *Rev. Weigand, Censor Deputatus
Imprimatur. *James Hartley, Bishop of Columbus

In addition to the other replies:

He tells us to ask. He wants us to rely on him. We won’t rely on him if we don’t ask, we’ll just assume everything would have worked out swimmingly without him.

The first goal of the Christian is to live and die in the state of sanctifying grace. His second aim is to obtain the efficacious graces which will enable him to resist temptation, practice virtue, and grow in the friendship of God. To get these graces he must pray and have recourse to the sacraments.

Prayer is the elevation of mind and heart to God, the conversation which faith enables a man to hold with God. Prayer is not the work of man alone but the combined work of God and man, the initiative always being with God. The first grace to an adult is the grace to pray or ask for help; hence prayer is man’s first reaction to God drawing him to Himself. While a man can pray in order to adore, thank, and placate God, the chief reason for it is to ask for blessings. The bases of prayer are the nothingness of man and the unbounded benevolence of God. For the fulfillment of his needs man must go to the source of his good, which he does spiritually, by prayer. Since prayer is the unavoidable declaration of man’s complete dependence on God, it comes easily to the faithful and is the most familiar act of the virtue of religion. While God, who is so liberal, can and does give many things unasked, yet the supreme thing, salvation, and most of the graces necessary for salvation, He gives on condition that we ask.

In my simple mind, praying to talking to God - having a conversation! It is the most natural thing in the world to want to talk to someone you love. When you fall in love with a person/spouse, you want to know all about them, be with them, help them - we learned this from God!

Wanting to pray comes from wanting to love God more. If we are ina dark time and don’t want to pray, maybe there is something blocking our desire for a closer relationship with God. That’s a good time for me to go to Mass, adore the blessed sacrament, read the Bible or a good spiritual work, etc.

Ask yourself what kind of relationship you would have with a wife/husband/child if you didn’t want to spend time talking with them, if it felt like a chore. Our loving relationship with God is the same way. Spend time with God (pray), and you will naturally want to do it more because God will bestow his graces on your in return!

This made all my worries and misunderstandings go to rest.

This is so beautifully explained. Did you get this from anywhere or is it your own? Thanks for the reply.

We pray that God’s will be done, as Christ bid us do.

You are conflating God’s will with worldly things, and also are falling into a Calvinist trap of viewing God in mechanical terms by virtue of His eternity, omniscience, and omnipotence.

How else do we talk with God except through prayer? It is not always about asking for something. Many times, we pray in gratitude.

Prayer is not necessary for God; it is necessary for us.

I’ve made it my own after sixteen years of Domincan, Franciscan and Jesuit catechesis and a lifetime of personal experience. God bless andrewaa. Please remember me in your prayers. You are in mine.


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