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Prayer Is Reminding God

It’s an odd thing to say that prayer is reminding God. It’s odd because—well, doesn’t God know all things? How could we remind him of anything?

If you didn’t know, God’s primary way of relating to his people is through the covenants. A covenant is a formalized relationship. The most common one in our day is a marriage covenant. Because two people love each other, they stand before God and make pledges to one another that make that love exclusive. The man pledges himself to his wife, and the woman pledges herself to her husband.

When God makes a covenant with his people, in effect, what he is doing is pledging himself to them. He’s saying, “I will be your God.” And that means that he will care for them, provide for them, protect them, and bless them with his presence and with other good gifts. And for their part, God’s people are supposed to worship God alone and serve him alone.

And because God relates to us through his covenants, we relate to him through his covenants. And so when we pray, we pray along the lines of the covenants, or with the grain of the covenants. And so, for example, when we pray for God’s provision, we are inviting God to fulfill his broader covenantal promises through our specific circumstances. We are “reminding” God of what he said he would do and asking him to fulfill it.

So while we don’t remind God in the sense that he’s forgotten, we do remind him through prayer by bringing afresh his own words before him, his own promises to us.

Pray with me. Father, though we have broken with your covenant a thousand times and more, you remain faithful to us because you are faithful to your own word. Please, then, stay faithful and bless us, your people with your presence and your provisions. Give us this day our daily bread. Guide us and deliver us from the evil that is all around us. And forgive us our sins because the sacrifice of Christ is worthy and we are called by his name. Amen.

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