Does God know our thoughts and hear our silent prayers? Does He always know what we’re thinking?
The Word of God
Can God read our minds, thereby knowing our thoughts? Can He know what we’re praying for when we don’t use words? How can God know what we’re thinking? The truth is God is the Word and Jesus being the Word and every bit God, knows us and knows us well, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). This means that “no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:13). There is nothing hidden from God. We all must give an account to Him on the day of His visitation or after death (Heb 9:27). There are no exceptions. For the believer, their sins have already been judged in Christ on the cross but for those who have never repented, they have nothing but the wrath of God abiding on them (John 3:36b).
Before you speak It
Does God know what we are going to pray for before we even pray it? Does He know what we’ll say before we even say it? Yes as the psalmist declares “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4). God tells Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer 1:5) so God certainly knows what we’ll say before we even say it and in fact, we are not that much different from Jeremiah, with the exception of being a prophet called to the nations. He also knew us before we were born (Eph 1). Just as with Paul “when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone” (Gal 1:15-16) so He has called us before the foundation of the world by His grace. Isaiah also writes “Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name” (Isaiah 49:1). As with the Gentiles “God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us” (Acts 15:8) so clearly, God knows our heart and declares “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” (Jer 17:10).
Thoughts, Intents, Feelings
When Hannah was barren and she prayed to the Lord for a child, Hannah “continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman” (1st Sam 1:12-13). Hannah’s lips were moving but she was praying silently and as it says, “Hannah was speaking in her heart” but “only her lips moved and her voice was not heard.” Eli thought she was drunk but nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes, early in the morning, before anyone’s awake, I pray silently in bed. It doesn’t matter if my words are audible or not; God hears what I am praying for in my heart for He knows everything that is in my heart (Jer 17:10) and even though my heart is desperately wicked (Jer 17:9) He still forgives me and I can communicate to Him through the access provide by our High Priest, Jesus Christ.
The Creator and the Created
Who would know better than God what we are thinking? Sometimes I can guess what my wife is thinking about and sometimes I can finish her sentences but “the LORD—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath” (Psalm 94:11) and He “knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile” (1st Cor 3:20). The psalmist wrote “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:2) so there truly isn’t anything hidden from God. Our hearts, minds, and souls are all like an open book to God. He knows us full well in every way.
God knows what you and I are thinking right now so it doesn’t matter if you pray out loud or silently. God will hear and answer the prayers of His own children but He always answers in ways that are superior to what we think we need or want. God can see our motives, thoughts, and intents so we must strive to pray with sincere, genuine intentions to God. He already knows them anyway.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.