“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:7-8)
We finish our short look at the sermon of Thomas Manton with another of his thoughts on the knowledge of God, this time the fact that God already knows our needs.
There is his fatherly care, for it is said, ‘Your Father knows what things you have need of.’ He knows what pincheth and presseth you. It is said, 1 Pet. 5:7, ‘Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.’ It is not said, that he may take care of you, but he doth take care. God is aforehand with us, and our carking care doth but take the work out of God’s hand which he is doing already. (Thomas Manton)
What a comfort it is to know that God already knows what “pincheth and presseth”. There is no need for a faltering embarrassment as we come to pray, no need to try and skirt around a subject as we come to God. He already knows, as a human father often knows what his child is about to ask.
Also, as Manton is keen to point out, God already cares for us. It is not as if we need to provoke him to mercy, as he already is merciful. Those things which we hesitate to bring before God, are known by him already. Do not pause or fret, simply pray.
God is always ahead of us, and our worrying (“carking” as Manton puts it) is needless. If God knows our problems already, and we can trust him to care for us, then we needn’t worry. We needn’t think that it all lies in our hands. No. Let us not take things out of God’s hand, let us leave them in his care.
Our view of God will inevitably affect the way in which we pray. The larger, the more caring we understand God to be the more confident we will be in prayer. So rethink your understanding of God, and allow him to be who he already is.