Young People Ask . . .
Will God Hear My Prayers?
“I pray about everything because Jehovah is my friend, and I know he will help me if I have a problem.”—Andrea.
YOUNG Andrea is sure that God hears her prayers. But not all youths share that confidence. Some feel too distant from God to approach him. They may even wonder if God cares enough about them to make prayer worthwhile.
What is the secret of prayer? Simply put, it is having a real friendship with God. The psalmist prayed: “Those knowing your name will trust in you.” (Psalm 9:10) What about you? Do you know God well enough to trust him with your prayers? Before you read any further, please try to answer the questions in the box entitled “How Well Do You Know God?” How many can you answer?
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW GOD? Answers on page 27
1. What is God’s name, and what does it mean?
2. What does the Bible reveal to be four main attributes of God?
3. What was God’s greatest expression of love for mankind?
4. How can we enjoy friendship with God?
5. What should properly be our attitude when we pray?
Are you able to answer at least some of the questions now, even before reading the rest of the article? Then you already know more about God than most people do. It may be, though, that your answers reveal a need to take in more knowledge about him, to get to know him more intimately. (John 17:3) To that end, consider just a few of the things that the Bible teaches us about the “Hearer of prayer.”—Psalm 65:2.
God Is a Real Person
First, the Bible helps us to appreciate that God is not some impersonal force. He is a person with a name, Jehovah. (Psalm 83:18) In Hebrew that name means “He Causes to Become.” He can become whatever he needs to be in order to accomplish his purpose. An impersonal bundle of energy could not do that! So when you pray, you can be sure that you are not talking to some abstract force or talking into the air. You are talking to a person, one who can both listen to and respond to your prayers.—Ephesians 3:20.
Young Diana thus says: “I know that wherever I am, Jehovah will listen to me.” To have that confidence, God must be real to you! “He that approaches God must believe that he is,” says the Bible.—Hebrews 11:6.
A Source of Wisdom and Power
God can really help us because he is awesome in power. That power is unlimited, as evidenced by the magnitude and complexity of the material universe. The Bible says that Jehovah knows the name of every star—even though there are countless billions of them! More than that, he is the source of all the energy tied up in those stars. (Isaiah 40:25, 26) Is that not amazing? And yet as astounding as these facts may be, the Bible says that “these are only hints of his power”!—Job 26:14, Today’s English Version.
Consider, too, Jehovah’s unlimited wisdom. The Bible says that his thoughts are “very deep.” (Psalm 92:5) He made mankind, and therefore he understands us better than we understand ourselves. (Psalm 100:3) Because he exists “from time indefinite to time indefinite,” he has unlimited experience. (Psalm 90:1, 2) There is nothing beyond his understanding.—Isaiah 40:13, 14.
How does Jehovah use all that power and wisdom? Says 2 Chronicles 16:9: “As regards Jehovah, his eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” There is simply no problem you could have that God cannot solve or help you to cope with. Young Kayla remembers: “Recently, when my family and I were going through a difficult time, I prayed to Jehovah, and I feel that he helped us to get through circumstances, problems, and feelings that would otherwise have been unbearable.” When you talk to God, you go to the source of wisdom. You cannot do better than that!
A God of Justice and Love
But how do you know that God wants to help you? Because Jehovah has chosen to identify himself, not by his immense power or by his deep wisdom or even by his unshakeable justice. Rather, Jehovah is known primarily for his attribute of love. “God is love,” says 1 John 4:8. And that great love gives prayer its power. The greatest expression of his love was the giving of his Son as a ransom sacrifice in order that we might enjoy everlasting life.—John 3:16; 1 John 4:9, 10.
Because God is love, you don’t ever have to fear that he will ignore you or treat you unjustly. “All his ways are justice,” says Deuteronomy 32:4. God’s love for you assures you of a hearing ear. This makes it feel safe for us to share our most private thoughts and feelings with him.—Philippians 4:6, 7.
Friendship With God
Actually, Jehovah invites us to talk to him. He does not want to be a stranger to us. On the contrary, throughout human history Jehovah has invited people to be his friends. Among those who enjoyed friendship with God, who were agreeable to his heart, were men and women, young and old. They included people such as Abraham, King David, and Mary, the mother of Jesus.—Isaiah 41:8; Luke 1:26-38; Acts 13:22.
You too can be one of Jehovah’s friends. Of course, such friendship does not mean that you should view God as some sort of genie that you call on only when you have a wish or a problem. Our prayers cannot be centered on just our own needs. If we want God’s friendship, we have to take an interest in his will—not just our own—and we must actually do the will of God. (Matthew 7:21) Jesus, therefore, taught his disciples to focus their prayers on the things important to God. He said: “You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.’” (Matthew 6:9, 10) Our prayers should also be full of praise and thanksgiving to God!—Psalm 56:12; 150:6.
Nevertheless, we should never think that our needs or cares are too small or trivial to pray about. “Even though I try to be open with him,” Steve says, “sometimes I feel that I should not bother God with some of the mundane things.” Whenever you start feeling that way, try to remember what Jesus taught his disciples: “Five sparrows sell for two coins of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them goes forgotten before God. . . . Have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6, 7) Is that not reassuring?
It’s easy to see, then, that the more you know about Jehovah, the more you will be moved to approach him in prayer and the more you will have the confidence that Jehovah can and will help you. Therefore, what should be your mental attitude when you approach God in prayer? You need to be respectful, humble, and unselfish. Do you think any high official on earth would listen to you if you made a request in a proud or disrespectful manner? Then you should not be surprised that Jehovah also expects you to respect him and his standards before he will answer your prayers.—Proverbs 15:29.
Thousands of God-fearing youths have learned to pour out their hearts to God. (Psalm 62:8) “When Jehovah answers my prayers,” says Brett, “it encourages me that he is still there as my friend.” What about you? How can you get to enjoy the same kind of friendship with God? Two Christian youths offered the following comments:
Rachel: “To be closer to Jehovah, I feel the need for deeper study of his Word, and I am trying to develop a longing for such study.”—1 Peter 2:2.
Jenny: “I feel that the more involved you are in his service, the closer you feel to Jehovah.”—James 4:8.
Have you ever wondered just how much good saying a prayer really does? One Christian youth says: “I would feel closer to God if he would speak to me or send me a message.” Since Jehovah does not answer us audibly when we pray, how does prayer really help us? This will be discussed in a future issue.
[Box on page 27]
Answers to questions on page 25
1. Jehovah. It means “He Causes to Become.”
2. Love, power, justice, and wisdom.
3. He sent his only-begotten Son, Jesus, to die in our behalf.
4. By not simply being concerned with our own needs but taking an interest in God’s will and doing it.
5. We should be humble, respectful, and unselfish.
[Pictures on page 26]
Studying the Bible and learning from creation will help you to know God better