God is omniscient. This means that God knows all things past, present, and future.
As this relates to prayer, it means that God, as Jesus says, “knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Notice carefully that Jesus does not say God knows what you need if you do not ask. Instead, Jesus says God “knows what you need before you ask.” While it is certainly true that God knows what you need if you ask or do not ask, the point Jesus is making is that even though God knows what you need, God wants you to ask! Another way of saying this is we should be motivated to ask by the fact that we know God already knows what we need. Or simply, God’s omniscience motivates prayer.
God’s omniscience motivates prayer because the context of Matthew 6 is Jesus’ teaching on how to pray. Jesus warns against “meaningless words” (Matthew 6:7), supposing that you can earn God’s ear with certain phrases, mantras, and repetitions. Prayer is not striking a deal with God. God does not hear you because you offer great prayers. In fact, remember He “knows what you need before you ask.” Rather, Jesus is teaching in Matthew 6 how to pray. Jesus does not tell us that the “Father knows what you need before you ask Him” so that you will not pray, but so that you will pray, just not in the wrong way. Certainly then you must pray even though God knows what you need.
Having said this, let me “ask” you: do you need a jump start to your prayer life? Do you need motivation to pray? If so, take some time to meditate on God’s omniscience (e.g., Psalm 139:1-4; Matthew 10:30; Hebrews 4:13, etc.). Let His knowledge of you, and what you need, drive you to your knees.
Driving you to your knees by reflecting on God’s omniscience might seem counterintuitive. If God knows what I need, why bother asking? But this is missing the point of Jesus’ teaching on prayer in Matthew 6. Prayer is not first and foremost to get from God. Prayer is first and foremost to get with God, for he is “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9), who liberally provides when we ask. So, in view of God’s knowledge of what you need, “ask, and it will be given to you . . . For everyone who asks receives” (Matthew 7:7-8).