Jehovah’s Witnesses watchman Forums Watchman Forum How can we be aware that Jehovah answers prayers?

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  • Burt Reynolds.Burt Reynolds.
    Participant
    Post count: 13
    #38803 |

    This is a subject to which I have not ever had a satisfactory reply. When in the congregation people used to spout of all sorts of assumptions and I used to think they assume more than they should. I know we are told in the scriptures that we should tell Jehovah all our issues. Yes, I agree. Yet when it comes to answers, I also bear in mind that Jehovah is impartial. Why should he answer my prayer for health and continuance when children are dying, being raped, abused, beaten? Did they not also pray for relief? And what better area to help than the innocence of a child? The watchtower used to say that prayers are answered on the basis of the preaching work. If it is to do with the preaching work, it will be granted. I can see the thinking there in regards to impartiality. So while we are telling Jehovah about our fears and worries, what is the response we are to expect, and how do we know, so as to put faith in it. Many feel Jehovah has directed them. Yet how can one extrapolate from that, fact, from hopeful assumption, hope, wishes? I feel as though I want to say that I have never experienced the power of a reply, of guidance, of assistance, but that is not strictly true, but true enough to doubt the origin of any reply against reasonable conviction or reassurance.

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    Adrew_arakeAdrew_arake
    Participant
    Post count: 7

    Hello Burt, I think your feelings are similar to almost everyone. Every day we would like to have tangible answers to our prayers. And I believe that we do not lose faith if we asked Jehova for such answers as was the case with Gedeon, Elias and others. But I also think that Jehovah has to see us suffer without being able to do anything about it (for now) because the Bible says that God’s will is not done on earth. We all know that there are (legal) issues in which we are accused day and Night before our God. Remember that Jehovah is the hearer of prayer so he listens to us. I can not stop imagining jehova listening to our prayers and supplications for help without being able to do anything about it (for now)

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    MaxMax
    Participant
    Post count: 2

    Jehovah is the hearer of prayer and as such he answers, but he answers the prayers that are according to His will and related to the kingdom. When I was in the full time service I saw many times Jehovah’s hand in what I was doing and even now I have seen His help in my dayly fight to remain loyal. On the other hand I have felt that sometimes and from time to time Jehovah lift his protection and we are tempted and bitten by our own imperfections. I have personally prayed for some of those weaknesses to be lifted from me or to have more help to be able to never have to dealt with it anymore so it is my personal experience that I do receive the help then I feel strong and confident and then again out of the blue I feel like I’m left in the dark to fence by myself. Over the years this personal fight against my own imperfections have made me more humble and have drowned me closer to Jehovah and I’m a stronger JW now that I was 28 year ago. It has not been nice or easy by any means I have felt many times completely forgotten by Jehovah, but I have learned that during those test He is watching and eventually I have the strength again to face the challenge. So how can we be aware that Jehovah answers prayers? I think we could be aware in the sence that after many years of fighting to remain loyals we are still standing… that in itself it’s a miracle.

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    DaisyDaisy
    Participant
    Post count: 3

    A while ago, after ministry, I jumped on a bus to get home. A retired gentleman sat down next to me and brought up the subject of politics to which I replied that it wasn’t an interest of mine due to my love of the Bible. We chatted quite a while when suddenly, I was astounded at a couple of sentences he said to me. His words were an answer to a prayer. I had put a dilemma I had in prayer and here was this total stranger’s few words giving me direction as to making a decision. he was none the wiser of course, but I was, and I made a right decision on the strength of what he said.
    On another occasion, I switched on my radio to listen to my favourite phone-in station and somebody had switched channels and a song struck up whose words in their entirety, answered another of my prayers regarding a problem I urgently needed resolving. Strange but true.
    I’ve questioned the efficacy of prayer over the years, when aircraft fell out of the skies killing hundreds, when ships sank in the oceans, when babies died of diseases and starvation in their thousands, when wars erupted, but then knowing God’s name, his purpose and his will has put things into perspective, that this human condition we all experience is nothing at all to do with Him.
    So what I’m hoping to convey by my post is that our prayers are answered …but that we need to become involved and assertive in making them come to fruition.
    Hope that makes sense as I’m very tired.

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    DustmanDustman
    Participant
    Post count: 12

    I was having a conversation one with someone who was trying to point out the efficacy of supplements.
    My question was how can the efficacy be proven?
    For example a person has some medical problem so they decided to take a certain supplement to help with the problem. After a month or so the persons condition improves. So naturally they put it down to the supplement. However there is a possibility that the person would have had the same improvement without taking the supplement. How can you prove the improvement was down to the supplement? You cannot. If lengthy clinical trials are conducted there could be some provable correlation between the improvement and the supplement but it could still be inconclusive.
    With prayer, to some degree the same problem exists. How can we say categorically that an answer to our prayer was in fact that?. Perhaps the same thing would have happened without any prayer being uttered. We can’t say unless we can physically go back in time and go through the same experience with/without prayer to compare the result.

    In my case I can think of times where my prayers were answered. I have no doubt about it. Have you ever had a “Gideon’s fleece” moment? I am fully convinced that a prayer of mine was answered in the same way that Jehovah answered Gideon’s request of Jehovah to give a sign though the wetting of a fleece on one occasion and the fleece being dry on the next. It was a sure indication that Jehovah answered the prayer. I asked similarly about a situation in my life and I believe categorically that my prayer was answered. However, could I prove it to anyone else? Probably not. Some might believe if others may be skeptical and put it down to coincidence.
    I believe that having a prayer answered can only really be understood by that person individually. Of course we have examples written in the Bible of Jehovah answering prayers. Hannah for example. Or Daniel in the lion’s den. No doubt you can think of many others. But to some, there is always the possibility that such prayer only seemed to have been answered. Have you experienced praying but there does not seem to be any answer forthcoming? The same situation that is being prayed about does not change and despite many hours/ days of supplication still no answer comes. Perhaps what Jesus said is important. If you have faith the size of a mustard grain you can move a mountain. Also when the official showed faith in Jesus healing power he was moved to say (Matthew 8:10) . . .When Jesus heard that, he was amazed and said to those following him: “I tell you the truth, with no one in Israel have I found so great a faith. . .
    So could the response to prayer be related to the amount of faith we have? I really don’t know. But why some prayers seem to be answered and others seemingly not is something I cannot know. Also Jehovah​ may answer prayers in unexpected fashion and we just don’t recognise it as an answer until we look back.
    We only see a small part of the jigsaw. Jehovah can see the whole picture.As was already referred to the scripture in PS 65:2 says he is the “hearer” of prayer. Well we can be a hearer or a listener without doing anything, which in some cases is all that is needed. But he is also the “answerer” of prayers. As to when/ how and why is something that we cannot stipualte as every case is different.

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    Burt Reynolds.Burt Reynolds.
    Participant
    Post count: 13

    Thanks Daisy. I’ll remember that.

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    Burt Reynolds.Burt Reynolds.
    Participant
    Post count: 13

    Thanks Dustman, that was very helpful and well reasoned. Very grateful to you.

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    SongofHannahSongofHannah
    Keymaster
    Post count: 46

    What a great subject Burt!

    Indeed, sone prayers I’ve seen an answer to almost immediately, and then others go unanswered for weeks. I got to reading, and noticed those who really wanted an answer from Jehovah “afflicted their soul”. I wonder about this, because as JWs this is not really apart of our culture. But maybe it should be? And maybe that’s the element that is missing? I think of Ahab at 1 Kings 21, for instance. Maybe then we would get a greater hearing? Seems worth testing out, for those prayers we just can’t seem to get an answer to…

    Daisy reminded me of my own experience I had, years ago. I was sitting in front of a sister at a convention, who I got the chance to meet and converse with during lunch. She expressed how happy she was to be there, but she was getting another one of her terribly painful headaches, and couldn’t concentrate enough on the program to enjoy it. I felt so bad for her, and I could see in her eyes that she was really suffering. So I silently emplored Jehovah “Could you please lift this sister’s headache? Look how much she loves you, and how far she’s traveled to be here. Could you just lift it, just for once, this day?”

    After the session, I didn’t even have a chance to asked her how she was, before she turned around and told me “Wasn’t that a wonderful program? And it’s amazing, my headache went away right after lunch! That never happens!” I never told her of course. But it sold me, on the power of prayer, that day.

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    Burt Reynolds.Burt Reynolds.
    Participant
    Post count: 13

    Thanks for that Hannah. Very helpful. What I really want to come to terms with, is why Jehovah should help us when there is so much suffering elsewhere…children…..older people…..vulnerable people…..disease. Do we decieve ourselves? How can Jehovah be impartial? Does he help these people? If he does, then why the seeming disparity? I really want to get a working balance on this because I don’t grasp it fully.

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    SongofHannahSongofHannah
    Keymaster
    Post count: 46

    Thanks Burt for your reply. I had a few thoughts to share but woke up late, so they’ll have to wait. But I do have time to share one – your thoughts sound very much like Job’s!

    Just recently I had the opportunity of listening to the new audio version of Job. And it was amazing – I got so much more out of it than reading it! I could actually feel it. And because of that, I enjoyed another dimension of it, that had escaped me before. And it really reminded me of your thoughts here. If you have a chance to throw on some earbuds and give it a listen, please let me know what you think. 🙂

    You can find the audio link on this page: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/job/1/

    Meanwhile, I will try to collect my other thoughts and post them when I get back from my day…

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    Burt Reynolds.Burt Reynolds.
    Participant
    Post count: 13

    Thanks Hannah, I will listen to that straight away. I love audio book reading of the scriptures, but I’m so deaf I have to wait until I’m alone and the neighbours are out! Sometimes I get a crowd of listeners outside …..I wish…

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    SongofHannahSongofHannah
    Keymaster
    Post count: 46

    Burt I have quite the same problem! May I suggest a pair of these? Surprisingly affordable and they work great. 🙂

    Panasonic RP-HJE120E-K Ergo Fit Ear Canal Headphones – Black https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003923350/

    Thanks Hannah, I will listen to that straight away. I love audio book reading of the scriptures, but I’m so deaf I have to wait until I’m alone and the neighbours are out! Sometimes I get a crowd of listeners outside …..I wish…

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    Burt Reynolds.Burt Reynolds.
    Participant
    Post count: 13

    Hello Hannah, I have got up to chapter 20 now but fell asleep again. I’m not good at keeping on the watch physically. I will go for the rest over the weekend. It’s difficult to follow who is complaining at who and if job is telling Jehovah that he has done nothing worthy of the problems he has. Still, I will plough on. It’s lovely to listen to.

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    Burt Reynolds.Burt Reynolds.
    Participant
    Post count: 13

    Hello Hannah, I have got to the end of Job now and it truely is a good example for us to not blame Jehovah for our ills. It is a salutary lesson for us to keep our own counsel, but still difficult to reconcile against our perceptions in life. What did you get from it?

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    SongofHannahSongofHannah
    Keymaster
    Post count: 46

    Hi Burt,

    Sorry about the delay in my response. Funny, but I had written nearly a book on this subject, which I had planned to share with you, but then I woke up and realized “Who am I to be teaching you?”

    You know the scriptures as much as I do, if not more. So doubtful what I say will be new to you, or even if it is, you may not view it the same as I do. And lastly but most importantly, as your sister, it is really not my place at all.

    But I will share, that I can relate to your plight. As I also have a question which I have been dearly wanting an answer to. I’ve been praying to receive a response for over a year now, yet the answer still alludes me!

    Remember the other day when I shared with you about my wondering if “afflicting our souls” might have a bearing? Well my thought was, Jehovah doesn’t put those details in the scriptures for nothing. So I am trying that. And the longer I go without an answer, the more I am going to afflict it. Hope he doesn’t wait too long to answer… lol.

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