Atheist, Mindy, asked: “If God is all knowing, he knows what you want, he knows if he’s going to give it to you or not, he’s just a sadist that wants to hear you beg. If God doesn’t know what you want already, then God isn’t all knowing. So theists, which is it?” (Religion Debate and Discussion – FB Group)
Christian response to Mindy…
First, you err in thinking that prayer has been given to the faithful in order to receive something…this is Satan’s deception and a construct of man’s lust. Prayer is a spiritual gift to those who love God and desire fellowship with Him. When we humble our self before our Creator, Jesus Christ-Yeshua, and commune with Him in adoration, love, worship, thankfulness…we receive from Him, peace-joy-contentment and a lifting of the World’s bitterness, burdens, hate, stress and worries.
2) Prayer is fellowship with our God where we give love, praise, worship and adoration to God and in-turn God reciprocates with love, wisdom, peace, joy, discernment, contentment, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Atheist does not understand prayer because prayer is NOT for the Atheist nor does our God hear the prayers of the Atheist unless said prayers are seeking forgiveness of sin and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (John 9:31).
3) Concerning petitioning God for “things.” It is wise to always preface a request of God with “If it be your will;” thereby, acknowledging our dependence on and trust in God’s love. All things that we seek in life as a petition of God should be sought in accordance with God’s will; God is pleased to give good things to His children, to those who love and trust in Him as our Heavenly Father, but we must not ask in our lust or greed but ask trusting in Him as a loving Father who has our best interest at heart; An Omniscient Creator who knows our needs before we kneel to pray.
Finally, when one intimately knows and enjoys a loving relationship with the Creator of the Universe through the Holy Spirit, all other gifts/petitions pale by comparison.
As an aside concerning prayer. Earlier today, during my jog, I lost one my dogs in the forest of the Ozarks in NW Arkansas. My wife (VERY UPSET) and I searched for hours without success. A couple of hours ago, I grabbed some water and went back out again into the woods hoping for success before darkness set-in and the coyotes, bear and wild dogs had their way with my little guy who was dragging a leash and lost. As desperation began to set-in, I simply asked my Lord that if it be His will, please allow me to find this little dog. Within 5-minutes my little boy came-up behind me, dehydrated, dirty, infested with burrs…but OK. I could only stop and praise my Lord for His faithfulness and kindness. Happen-chance you say? I don’t think so! I love and serve an awesome God!!!