I have been reflecting
on this very subject recently. So I am fascinated to see you comment on
similar lines doubtfull!
still developing an opinion on this but thus far, it seems to me, that not
praying produces pretty much the same results as praying.
my years "in" - I prayed fervently for all sorts of things.
Whether tangible like for a job or for
personal development and growth. After praying I would be on the lookout
for an "answer" and I could usually find one or convince myself of one.
This apparent "answer" would anchor me more firmly to the religion
and no one could dispute it because it was my personal experience.
Seven years back, for various reasons, I made a subconscious decision to stop praying. Just stopped - that was it. I did feel guilty about it (until I begin to realise TTATT) and each night before going to sleep I would think about Jehovah and think that I should pray but I couldn't bring myself to. (Yes, I know that means that I was "spiritually unwell" - whatever.) Anyway, I share that to state that my next comments are on comparing the years I prayed to the years I haven't prayed.
And I find there to be no difference. I have experienced just as many successes and failures, rewards and setbacks, commendations and complaints as I did before. And what I have learned is that THE ONLY PERSON these experiences were dependent on was MYSELF! By my hard work and effort, my mental outlook, my decision-making processes, I determined whether I experienced a success or not, whether I achieved a reward or not, whether I received a commendation or not. (Other factors are of course involved but I don't believe them to be of divine origin.)
Looking back, I now question the prayers I thought were answered by a hearer of prayer. One eg. when I was 16 and wanted to start regular pioneering I didn't have a part-time job. I prayed and prayed about it and at the same time I actively sought part-time employment. After three months, I decided to take the plunge and put in a regular pioneer application form anyway, even though I didn't have work. Guess what, got a job in the next week. Back then, I put that down to Jehovah. Now, I put it down to the efforts I had made in the three months prior of actively looking for work. I think the real test would have been not applying for any jobs and Jehovah delivering anyway. But then, aren't we taught that he will only answer prayers that we are working towards? Rather convenient don't you think?
I know the question about prayer is closely linked to belief in a hearer of prayer. So I do not mean my comments above to offend any on this forum who do believe in a hearer of prayer. For me, the jury is still out on that one. I am struggling to accept that a creator wants to be found and wants a relationship with individuals when he makes it so hard to find him and when so many organisations use mistruth, manipulation and deceit - all the while the creator is silent about that and let's it happen.
Anyway, there's my thoughts and I apologise for the length - I do try to by pithy!