Jesus said, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:8 NASB). So if God loves us, why do we have to ask Him for what He already wants to give us? Why did Jesus instruct us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread”? C. S. Lewis quotes his mentor, George MacDonald, with a partial answer to that question.
“What if He knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need–the need of Himself? . . . Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer. . . . So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer, yea, of existence itself in its infinite phases. We must ask that we may receive: but that we should receive what we ask in respect of our lower needs, is not God’s end in making us pray, for He could give us everything without that: to bring His child to his knee, God withholds that man may ask” (C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald: An Anthology [London: Geoffrey Bles: The Centenary Press, 1946], 51-52).