If God knows us better than we do, and thus knows our hearts, why do we have to pray to Him when He can just sort us out without the need for us going to Him (typically for prayers of petition and repentence)
A couple of quick and dirty answers to this question are:
It is quite possible that God’s plans involve contingencies.
To expound, God won’t necessarily act without our permission, not because He can’t, but because He respects our free will. We are totally capable of rejecting Him, to the point that we spend eternity as separated from Him as possible. Some of the things God could do without our asking could very easily negate free will.
At the same time, God may have decided that He won’t give until and unless we ask. Consider “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find (Matthew 7:7)”. And there are two reasons I can think of for why God would arrange things in this fashion, the first being free will as I mentioned before.
The second, though, is humility. In our lives, how much pride do we take in being able to do it ourselves? How much literature is there out there about being a self-made man? How often do we look down on those who need friends/family/government aid to bail them out of difficult situations? In that case, how much do we have to humble ourselves to approach God and admit “Lord, I need help. I cannot do this on my own. Please provide for me. My life is in Your hands.” To put it contrapositively, when we do not ask, we essentially say to God, “I don’t need your help.” In some cases, that’s not necessarily the problem (I don’t think I need to ask God’s aid for mowing the lawn), but there are definitely things we need His help for, though we may not realize it. But in order to receive that help, we must be willing to humble ourselves and ask.
Why does God appear to be silent or lazy? Sure, He is active in ways such as the Sacraments, but I just feel compelled to say ‘oh do it yerself!’
I’ll agree with some other posters: do what Himself? Fix the world’s problems? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, cure the sick?
For God acting in such ways, the answer I have one again deals with free will. We chose to find out how bad things could be before we decided to see how great things can be. When we were presented with the choice of “The School of God’s Everlasting Glory” and the “The School of Hard Knocks”, we chose the latter.
To some extent, all the suffering we see in the world is there to show us how bad things are when we choose something else over God. But then, there’s also the notion that there is true merit in suffering. So maybe God doesn’t act for those two reasons.
Or maybe God doesn’t do anything because we haven’t ask Him to!
Why did Jesus insist that his nature be kept a secret when he and his apostles went around towns? I.E. Why did he keep quiet and not openly proclaim himself to be the Son of God/Man until right at the end?
If I walked up to you, and to be honest, you probably don’t know me from Adam, and claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God, your Redeemer, would you simply say, “Okay, great!” or would you react with maybe an ounce of (rightful) skepticism?
If I understand rightly, in Jesus’ time there were a bunch of false prophets that rose and fell practically overnight, claiming to be the Messiah, claiming to be the Voice of God. If Jesus just presented His claim without any justification, He wouldn’t have appeared any different from all the other charlatans out there. So he kept quiet, worked a few dozen miracles, taught, spoke, gathered a following, and only when He had padded His resume–so to speak–He finally revealed to a small select the truth. In other words, Jesus let people start to draw their own conclusions, and when they had more or less figured it out (with the help of the Holy Spirit), then He affirmed their conclusions.
In a way, the answer to this question partially answers your previous questions, as well. Jesus didn’t directly reveal Himself right away because people would have immediately rejected Him out of hand. And even when people had all the confirmation they needed to see He was indeed the Son of God, many of them still rejected Him. And if people were willing to reject Jesus when they had dealt with Him face to face, how much easier is it to reject God’s direct intervention in our lives today?
Consider how uncommon miracles are. On one hand, God doesn’t work many miracles because there are plenty of normal means to accomplish His goals. On the other hand, maybe there’s the concern that if we’re inundated with miracles, bad people (or even devils) will slip something into the mix that seems miraculous and really corrupts the followers.
To pick a completely non-real-world example out of a hat, suppose God is willing to provide us with the miracle of revelation at the drop of the hat. Because it would be so common, we could actually grow to expect many people to talk about their own particular revelations. What then, if someone didn’t really have a revelation, but maybe had some interior agenda, and started spreading false teachings? Granted, the problem could be fixed with God constantly intervening with additional revelation, but given human nature, everything would quickly devolve into a massive, confusing jumble.
So specifically, Jesus didn’t immediately announce who and what He was, because such an effort would be self-defeating.