Who Is the Hearer of Prayer?
IF THERE is a Hearer of prayer, logically he must be the Creator. Who else but the One who designed the human brain could read your thoughts? Who else could respond to prayers and provide mankind with the help they need? But you may wonder, ‘Is it rational to believe in a Creator?’
Many people think that to believe in a Creator, you have to deny the evidence of modern science. But the assumption that belief in God is incompatible with science is simply not true. Consider the following.
◼ A recent study of 1,646 professors of science at 21 elite universities in the United States found that only a third chose the statement “I do not believe in God” to describe their view.
The fact is that a number of scientists believe in the existence of God.
Evidence of a Creator
Do we have to accept without proof that the Hearer of prayer exists? Not at all. The idea that faith means believing without evidence is a mistaken notion. The Bible defines faith as “the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (Hebrews 11:1) Another translation says that faith “makes us certain of realities we do not see.” (The New English Bible) For example, you cannot see radio waves, but your cell phone clearly demonstrates the reality of those invisible waves that transmit voices; so you accept that such waves exist. Similarly, although we cannot see the Hearer of prayer, we can review available evidence that can give us the conviction that he must exist.
Where can we find evidence that God exists? We need only look around us. The Bible reasons this way: “Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:4) Do you agree with the logic of that statement? Perhaps when you contemplate the order of the universe, the origin of life, or the design of that most complex of all structures on earth, the human brain, you reason that something higher than humans must exist.*
But there is a limit to what nature can teach us about God. Observing evidence of God in creation is like hearing the footsteps of someone approaching behind a closed door. You know that someone is there, but who is it? To find out, you need to open the door. We need to do something similar in order to identify the Someone behind creation.
The Bible is a door to knowledge about God. When you open that door and consider some of its detailed prophecies and their fulfillment, you will find evidence that God exists.* But more than that, the record of God’s dealings with people shows the very personality of the Hearer of prayer.
What Is the Hearer of Prayer Like?
The Bible reveals the Hearer of prayer to be a person—one whom you can know. Surely only a person can listen with understanding. It is reassuring to read: “O Hearer of prayer, even to you people of all flesh will come.” (Psalm 65:2) He hears those who pray to him in faith. And he has a name. The Bible says: “Jehovah is far away from the wicked ones, but the prayer of the righteous ones he hears.”—Proverbs 15:29.
Jehovah has feelings. He is “the God of love” and is called “the happy God.” (2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Timothy 1:11) Concerning his reaction at a time when evil was especially rampant, the Bible says: “He felt hurt at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5, 6) The claim that God causes suffering in order to test people is untrue. The Bible says: “Far be it from the true God to act wickedly.” (Job 34:10) Nevertheless, you may wonder, ‘If God is the almighty Creator, why does he allow suffering to continue?’
Jehovah has granted mankind the ability to exercise free will, and that tells us something about what God is like. Do we not treasure our freedom to choose how we will live? But sadly, many people misuse their freedom and cause suffering for themselves and others. Now here is a question worth thinking long and hard about: How could God eliminate suffering without taking away man’s freedom? We will examine this question in the next article.
For a more detailed discussion of the evidence of God’s existence, see the brochure The Origin of Life—Five Questions Worth Asking and the book Is There a Creator Who Cares About You? both published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The brochure A Book for All People and the book The Bible—God’s Word or Man’s? are published by Jehovah’s Witnesses to help you to consider evidence that the Bible is inspired of God.
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Does Religion Make You Doubt?
Sadly, it is religion that causes many to doubt that there is a compassionate Hearer of prayer. Religion’s involvement in war, terrorism, and the toleration of child abuse has led even prayerful people to say, “I don’t believe in God.”
Why is religion often an influence for bad? Put simply: Bad people have done bad things in the name of religion. The Bible foretold that Christianity would be hijacked and used for evil ends. The apostle Paul told Christian overseers: “From among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.”—Acts 20:29, 30.
God is disgusted with false religion. In fact, God’s Word, the Bible, holds false religion responsible for “the blood . . . of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.” (Revelation 18:24) Because false religion has failed to teach people about the true God, whose very essence is love, those religions are bloodguilty in God’s eyes.—1 John 4:8.
The Hearer of prayer feels for the victims of oppressive religion. Soon, God’s love for mankind will move him to judge all religious hypocrites by means of Jesus. Jesus said: “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?’ . . . Yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.”—Matthew 7:22, 23.