Recently I was thinking about the prayers I used to say while I was a witness.
There were three different kinds of prayers:
1. The personal prayers, quiet or silently whispered
2. Those I used to say together with my wife
3. The Prayers in front of other witnesses
The personal prayers were often just a soliloquy. Going into the depth of my inner self, but with the sensation that somebody is listening. Rendered with a forced humility, due to my awareness of being a sinner. Very often I started my prayers with: ” I am a worm”, so Jehovah would know, that nothing I was going to mention is worth to be heard and him listening would be even more than undeserved kindness. Sometimes these prayers were very relieving, but often they left me with a bad taste. I thought: “Why should Jehovah listen to you?” This was mainly because I hated field service and even as a pioneer I always looked for opportunities to avoid going from house to house. And my preference for movies and books that the average witness would have considered as worldly, immoral, satanic.
The prayers with my wife (ex-wife actually) were always a burden. Not those before the meal, but those before going to sleep. Most of the time, I didn’t know what to say. So it was just phrases, thanks for that, thanks for this, please, please, please. Only in rare occasions I mentioned something special. I did it only because I thought this was my duty as husband and “head”. In retrospect it seems like I haven’t wanted a third person in my bed. Maybe because I sensed that two were already one too much.
Prayers in front of others were always easy, because when you grow up as a witness you have an endless fund of phrases to use. Becoming more acquainted to public speaking the prayers improved and finally you can easily switch between different inner outlines. You’ve got one for the service meeting, one for public talk, one for bible studies, one for shepherd calls, even one for the memorial and one for judicial committees. You don’t say these prayers to god. You direct them to the ones who are listening, with bowed head and closed eyes. Sometime they were extensions of the meeting just held, not a simple revision of what has been said, more an opportunity to put emphasis on the things you wanted the audience to keep in mind.
I remember very well my last sincere prayer to Jehovah as one of his witnesses. After a few months inactive I went out with an elder, who was really a friendly guy with a lot of family problems, so I didn’t care much about him not caring much about me. But we liked to talk with each other and so I thought I will give it another try. And while we were walking from one house to the next I felt my belly grumbling and my heart was beating faster and faster. I wanted to stop immediately, the nausea was almost unbearable. And in my mind I prayed to Jehovah: “Please, please, please let me feel at least a hint of joy in this work. Just a little bit. Just a little…..little…..little bit.”
Two doors later I invited the elder to MC. I’ve never been in field service again.
You can imagine that a prayer was answered. But every unanswered prayer is for real.
JW and prayers – what do you think?