Unsure, Why pray?


Here is the question and maybe someone has a good answer. Or I should say an answer through logic and reason? I am not sure. A question someone asked me and it made me think as I could not think of a good answer at the time. Here it is.
God already knows what decisions we are going to make, down to what time we will be getting up in the morning, when we will die etc etc etc. Why do we pray then? Why do we pray for someone who is sick and who is terminally ill? Why do we pray to make the right decisions in our lives. I understand there is free will involved. Still though God knowing what decision we are already going to make, why pray? Why pray that we will be able to do this or do that?


First of all we pray for these things because we are commanded to, and taught to by Jesus in the ‘Our Father’.

Prayer above all is communication with God - and communicating our needs and desires to Him is an important part of that.

What parent doesn’t enjoy their child coming to them to talk about their hopes, dreams, wishes and - yes - even their outlandish and impossible requests? Even if it’s just to say something like ‘I love you’ that they’ve said a million times before? Even if they’re going to ask for food when the parent already knows they’re hungry?

It shows that child’s trust in and need of the parent. It builds a relationship of confidence between them.


OK, so this is going to sound weird to SOME people… but i totally believe (know) this to be true:

God does not KNOW what we are going to do. If He did, we would not have total freedom. We would be robots.

This does not take away from his omnipotence. He gave away His omnipotence (though not His omniscience) concerning human freedom when he made man. Man disobeyed in the Garden and has been disobeying ever since. This is why Jesus said there are few who make it to Heaven (St mt 7:21… [St Mk 13:24?]). Man always has the choice to do good or evil… or to do one good thing to the neglect of another good thing… He always has choice… He can be sold out to satan & do hideous evil all his life yet repent before death… He may have to be in Purgatory 1000 yrs and it may be very unlikely he WILL repent… but he CAN repent… and will be saved…

He knows what we are INCLINED to do… but that is all…


Prayer is important for two reasons: one, God asked us to; two, Jesus did it, and as people who are to follow His example, we should find value it in too; and three, it helps us. It’s true - God doesn’t “need” to know us, since He knows what’s in our hearts already - but it actually helps us. It gives us an outlet to express our feelings, it teaches us the value of open communication with our Father, and it reinforces the relationship we have as His children who want to talk with their Father. Hope this helped a bit!


I know every way to pray ever known to man (virtually)… and

the best way to pray is to be in total silence @ the Blessed Sacrament… listening…


Hi “fjonc” :wave: I’d be happy to share my opinions with you; but I guess you will have to be the judge of whether or not it is a “good answer”. Since you asked, specifically for “an answer through logic and reason”… I will start with faith… (which some might view as the opposite of logic and reason). But prayer, as I understand it… is an act of faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states that faith is both a grace and a human act.

(156)"What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe “because of the authority of God Himself Who reveals them, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived.”

Prayer is the way in which we maintain a relationship with God. Jesus Himself, taught us to pray. And He prayed, to His Father… as many passages in the New Testament remind us. Just as a husband and wife, maintain a relationship… a dialogue with one another… (even though they know the next word or action of their beloved)… so we, maintain a relationship with God… through prayer.

Think of it this way. Would you even consider not speaking to your spouse? Or to your parents? Of course not! :wink:

CCC(2564) “Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.”

We pray for people who are sick, because it is an act of Christian Charity. We pray to make the right decisions in our lives as (again) an act of Faith. We pray for God’s assistance, His grace… to help us make the right decisions. Just because God already knows the outcome… doesn’t mean that we are “programmed” to any particular END.

CCC(600) “To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore He establishes His eternal plan of “predestination”, He includes in it each person’s free response to His grace.”

I hope that this is helpful to you. God bless.


I can argue that prayer “is” both sound and logical. Prayer is “sound” because of the results and “logical” because it works. And as the old saying goes, “the journey” is the trip not the destination. Meaning the process of praying may yield more in the end that what we requested in our prayers. Can also be said that sometimes what we ask for in prayer may not be in our best interests which we don’t discover until later.

Can’t argue, this was a good question.


Hi MarieVeronica
So you said we pray because it is Christian Charity. That does not really answer the question. Yes I pray, I pray the Rosary regularly, Liturgy of the Hour. I do pray to make the right decisions. If God already does know the outcome, no matter how we pray, it will still come out the same in the end. For example, if I pray that my child is born healthy every day and end up losing the child, what has it done?
If I pray for my mom’s health to get better and she passes away, the outcome would have still been the same.
I am not saying we should not pray but praying for things such as thoughs and they do not come about? We say it is God’s will. God’s will, will be done no matter what.
We have free will in our decisions so we think but if God already knows what we are going to do praying to make the right decision well just does not seem like you know.
If I go out to eat, God already knows what I am going to eat. If I order the fish instead of the steak and good food poisoning so bad i almost die, was that God’s will that I was to choose that instead of the steak? Was that what I was suppose to do? I know it seems like a silly situation but those things do happen. I have not done that for one but well I have had food poisoning where I felt like I was going to die.

the CCC (600) you mentioned, still does not say anything about why pray for the right decision, why pray for a healthy child, why pray we make the right choices.


that’s why its best to pray in total silence @ the Blessed Sacrament / Real Presence…

That is being with God (& His will for us) on Earth…


I am not asking to argue a point. I am not saying we should not pray. I am just trying to find out why pray to ask for help, guidance, the sick to get healthy, etc etc etc when the outcome will be the same.


God’s knowing what we are going to do has no effect on our free will to choose what we are going to do.

Ask An Apologist:

Does God know the future?


fjonc, you might find chapter 2 of Peter Kreeft’s Prayer for Beginners helpful. You can read the chapter at this link:

Ten Compelling Reasons to Pray


there are certain things that are ordained by God to happen. The Incarnation and Crucifixion were inthat category.

If Judas had changed his mind (which he did belatedly)… AND repented…(before the damage was done…or even after) God would have found another way… to accomplish His objective… but Judas still could have been saved if he had accepted Christ’s forgiveness… even after the Crucifixion was over …

in other words: He was NOT predestined to Hell…


that makes no sense…


prayer changes things… whether we get exactly waht we want or not…

I have gotten exactly what i asked for when praying for this or that… and i have also NOT gotten what i asked for… but my prayers were all answered… because later down the road God showed me WHY i should NOT have gotten ths or that that i thought i wanted…

(and when that happened, i was SO thankful… that i waited on him… :D)


Distracted, I edited my reply to you after finding the issue of God’s omniscience addressed by Fr. Vincent Serpa. He says to deny that God knows the future is heresy.


Ok, free will is one thing. Free will for a child to live or die? Meaning if we pray for a normal healthy baby and the baby passes away before it is born free will does not come into play. If we pray for good decisions, no matter how we pray no matter how we act on our decisions, God still knows our choices before we even make them.
There are 2 types of prayer here but yet praying for either, the outcome will still be the same no matter how much we pray.

As mentioned in a few posts back, predesitination is an unfathonable thought.

So back to the original question. Why pray for any outcome if it is already predestined in that we just don’t know what the outcome will be. Is it just to make some how feel better? If that were the case and prayers are not answered, and a baby passes away before it is born, a parent dies senselessly, we make wrong decisions and our life is in turmoil. Why?


Perhaps the predestined result was due to your as yet unsaid prayer answered by an omniscient God? :confused:



Page 15 of the Prayer for Beginners book I linked in this thread says,

“We pray to obey God, not to “play God.” We pray, not to change God’s mind, but to change our own; not to command God, but to let God command us. We pray to “let God be God.” Prayer is our obedience to God even when it asks God for things, for God has commanded us to ask (Mt 7:7).”


So since to say God doesn’t knows the future is heresy, that we are predestined, that these things that happen in our lives means the future is already set, why pray for health, right descisions, loved one to recover etc etc etc?
Please do not misunderstand me I am not trying to raise an argument or disbelief in God or anything like that, just trying to understand what is the point. I pray to God and Jesus with all my heart every day and love Them will all my soul always and forever.

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