"Did God forget about his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?"

Exodus 2:23-24 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

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The wording of this passage leads one to believe that God was somehow unaware of the suffering of Israel, and that he had to be reminded through prayer.  Is God only aware of things when we pray about them? Why did he have to be reminded?  If God had been paying closer attention, could he have saved the Israelites from years of slavery?

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Referenced Verses:
Exodus 2:23, Exodus 2:24