Does Anyone Hear Prayers?
“I used to have doubts about God’s existence. Yet, sometimes I would pray anyway. I was unsure if anyone was listening, but I must admit that I did hope that someone was out there. I was unhappy and had no purpose in life. I was afraid to believe in God because I thought that only weak people believed in God.”—PATRICIA, * IRELAND.
CAN you relate to Patricia’s feelings? Do you pray even if you have doubts about whether God exists? If so, you are far from alone. Consider the following.
▪ A poll of 2,200 British people revealed that only 22 percent believe that there is a personal God who created the world and who hears prayers. Yet, of those polled, 55 percent pray at least occasionally.
▪ A survey of 10,000 people on four continents showed that of the respondents who describe themselves as atheists, almost 30 percent pray.
Why Do They Doubt?
An Englishman named Allan says: “I used to say that I didn’t believe in God because I thought that religion was invented to control people and to make money. Also, if there were a God, I reasoned, then there would not be so much injustice. Yet, sometimes I would sit quietly and talk to ‘something.’ I would also ask myself, ‘How did I get here?’”
Each person with such feelings has his own reasons for doubting whether prayers are answered. In many cases, the doubts may be fueled by unanswered questions, such as the following:
▪ Is there a Creator?
▪ Why is religion so often an influence for bad?
▪ Why does God allow suffering?
If you could know the answers to those questions, would you feel more confident about praying?
^ par. 2 Some names in this series of articles have been changed.