Sharon Harris is wife, mother, English teacher, amateur photographer, and gardener.

Why should I pray to God when it doesn’t do any good?


Question: Why should I pray to God when it doesn’t do any good?

Answer: It sounds like you didn’t receive an answer you were hoping for, and so you are feeling disconnected from God. However, just because you didn’t get what you expected doesn’t mean that God did not hear. In your human finite understanding, you don’t realize all the many, many times during your life that God shielded you and others whom you love from harm and saved you from ruin. We won’t know all the good things God has done for us until we meet Him face-to-face. As He told the prophet Jeremiah about His chosen people, Israel:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to help you and not to hurt you, to give you a future and a hope…”  Jeremiah 29:11

God doesn’t urge us to pray in order to know what’s going on with us and what blessings WE think are best. He already knows that and everything else because He is omniscient (all knowing). He even knows the future, and that’s why He doesn’t always grant what we ask for because it is short-sighted and much less than HIS BEST FOR US. Prayer is not about getting things from God; prayer is about relationships, and He is teaching us that. God wants us to talk with Him in order to develop a daily friendship with Him so that we’ll feel assured of His love and be certain of His continuous forgiveness of our sins. He is more than a friend and counselor but is our heavenly Father, and we are His adopted children:

“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar.You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue,you, Lord, know it completely.” Psalm 139:1-4

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”  Matthew 6:7-8

We must admit that we put off speaking with God because we are too busy with other things. We pause that relationship with Him until we face a crisis! When we disregard God by never talking with Him, obeying Him, or reading our Bible to learn what He’s like, we signal to Him (and others under our influence) that He is not important or necessary in our lives. Essentially, we communicate our true feelings, like these: 

You are not the God that I want. I would prefer a god like this:  Give me immediate signs of what I should do when I pray, keep me from any harm or pain, make my relationships easy to manage, guard me against financial hardship, tell me the future, and make me rich so that I have everything I would like. 

God is not like the genie in the lamp from storybooks who appears and grants three wishes when you summon him. He is not a supernatural vending machine to give you anything you ask for. 

A sign of spiritual growth and a loving relationship with Him is when you turn from thinking He’s not the God you WANT, to:  He is the God that you NEED!

At times, our lack of relationship with Him and our sin puts on hold the help we hope to receive from God. We ask for the wrong things because of our pride and our selfishness. It’s not surprising that pride is mentioned as the worst sin because it affects everything else that we do. It poisons our relationship with God and with other people. 

What causes conflicts and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the passions at war within you? You crave what you do not have; you kill and covet, but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask. And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures.” James 4:1-2

Despite people’s unworthiness to receive blessings from God, the Bible shows us He does quite a lot to provide all that we need, even when we don’t ask! Since He does everything to take care of us, the list is infinite. Here are just several examples:

  • Listening to our prayers on behalf our others and ourselves
  • Guiding our decisions and our future (even though we don’t always ask Him to) 
  • Directing us into the paths of people He wants us to interact with for our mutual benefits
  • Giving us favor with those in authority over us

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…”  James 4:8

Do YOU have a relationship with the God of the universe who created all things, including you? 

Do YOU know for sure that if you died today, you would go to live forever in Paradise with Him? 

It’s not difficult to ask Him to save you from the suffering of eternal punishment in hell for your sins. God offers you the gift of salvation through the one He sent into the world – Jesus Christ – His only Son, who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father God except through me.” (Jesus in John 14:6)

Pray or say this to God before any more time goes by. Don’t put it off! You never know when this will be your last opportunity before your death:

God, I want this close relationship with you and ask you to show me how. I will speak with you daily and read the Bible with others to learn what you expect from me as your new child. Please forgive me of all the many wrongs I’ve committed and help me to stop living in self-destructive ways. I know that Jesus is your Son who died on the cross to take my punishment and pay the penalty for my sins, and I thank you. I am grateful you resurrected Jesus from the dead to save me and show me the promise of the beautiful life after death that you promise me, too. Show me how to turn away from my past and look to the wonderful future you have promised me! Thank you! I trust you from this day forward and forever. Only you can transform me into the person you have destined me to be. Amen! 

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