One morning as we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast, I said to Stan, “I have a question about prayer. We may have talked about it before, but there’s a thought running around in my mind that just won’t go away.”
“What’s that, my friend?” Stan replied.
“If God knows everything, and I believe He does,” I said, “why should I pray? What’s the point of telling Him stuff He already knows?”
“That’s a good question,” Stan responded. “In fact, I had the same question at one point in my prayer life.”
“What’d you do with your question?” I asked.
“I gave it to God.”
“You asked God?” I replied. “What did He say?”
“At first, He didn’t say anything,” Stan responded. “He just handed me some mental duct tape and then said, ‘Here, this will help’.”
“Mental duct tape?”
“Yeah,” Stan replied. “In essence, God said to me that I was talking too much in my prayers and it was important for me to stop talking and listen. To be blunt, He told me to put some of that mental duct tape over my mouth.”
“Just like your original question,” Stan said, “God made it real clear to me that, yes, He already knows everything I could possibly say, but that He also knows that the opposite is equally true.”
“The opposite equally true? What opposite?”
“That I don’t not know all that He has to say. I don’t know what’s on His mind and heart, and the best way to find out involves being quiet.”
“Oh,” I said, “the mental duct tape. Put it over your mouth so you can’t talk. Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “I’ve found that mental image to be helpful for me in my prayers so I truly focus on listening to what God has to say. I don’t need to give Him all of the details of what’s on my mind and heart, He already knows. I just need to listen to what He has to say about what’s on His mind and heart!”
Bible verses to consider:
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10.
Therefore do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. Matthew 6:8
And it came about that while He was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord teach us how to pray . . . .” Luke 11:1.
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in prayer. Thank you, too, that you know what is on my heart and mind before I speak a word. I confess that too often in my prayers I tell you things you already know and I am not quiet before you so I can hear and listen to what you have to tell me about what’s on your heart and mind. Please forgive that foolish way of approaching you in prayer. Please, Father, do what needs to be done in and through me so I truly seek to know you as deeply as is humanly possible. Help me to be still, know that you are God, and listen to what you have to say to me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you believe that God knows all that’s on your mind and heart? In your prayers how much time do you spend telling God things He already knows? How much time do you spend listening to what He has to say about what is on His mind and heart about your circumstances? If you sense a need for change in how you approach God in your prayers with a greater need to be still and to listen, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?