Does God answer every prayer?

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SilentDawning
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Does God answer every prayer?

Post by SilentDawning » 08 Aug 2020, 09:50

A while ago I was reading a book by Gene. R. Cook in which he talked about prayer. He made the assertion that God answers EVERY prayer.

Do you belive that is true -- that God answers EVERY prayer? You could argue that when you pray for something to happen, and it doesn't, that God is saying "no". In that way, every prayer is answered with silence considered an answer in itself. But some prayers are for knowledge or inspiration and often you get nothing. Does that mean God didn't answer the prayer? Can you say "God answers every prayer" without resorting to mental gymnastics?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Arrakeen
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Re: Does God answer every prayer?

Post by Arrakeen » 08 Aug 2020, 12:53

I think you would have to start by defining what it means to "answer" a prayer.

If you ask a yes or no question, do you need a yes or no response? What if God's a politician who dodges the question and changes the topic? Does that count? If you ask for help or guidance, do you need to actually receive it? And if help or guidance comes from someone other than God, does that count as God answering the prayer? Do answers come as feelings, events, ideas? How do you know it's even from God?

What if we compare it to our interactions with other people? If you ask your friend a question and they don't respond, that's usually not taken as an answer. Or if you text them and they don't reply. Sometime I wish God would at least respond with a simple "K", just to let us know he got the message. Or maybe prayers should have delivery and read receipts so we know if we're being "ghosted".

Personally, my thoughts are that if the "answer" you receive is the same as if God did nothing, then it really doesn't count as an answer. So I don't agree with the idea that no discernible answer means "you already know the Book of Mormon is true", or that God is saying "no".

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nibbler
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Re: Does God answer every prayer?

Post by nibbler » 08 Aug 2020, 13:42

Arrakeen wrote:
08 Aug 2020, 12:53
What if we compare it to our interactions with other people? If you ask your friend a question and they don't respond, that's usually not taken as an answer. Or if you text them and they don't reply. Sometime I wish God would at least respond with a simple "K", just to let us know he got the message. Or maybe prayers should have delivery and read receipts so we know if we're being "ghosted".
Holy ghosted.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

Jabraso
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Re: Does God answer every prayer?

Post by Jabraso » 10 Aug 2020, 09:30

I struggle with the same question. The short answer I'd give is no. There are over 7 billion people on this planet who could pray for 7 billion contradicting outcomes; even if you limit it to the roughly 2 billion Christians the "butterfly-effect" of all those prayers being "answered" would be chaotic at best (anyone remember the movie Bruce Almighty when he replied yes to all prayer emails :lol:). Most of the time our individual prayers aren't that important in the grand scheme of things.

Asking for something and getting nothing is not the same as a "no". If all you expect out of prayer is direct 2 way dialog and/or miracles you will be disappointed. Either we need to give up praying or make our prayers more useful. Expressing gratitude is the most immediate benefit of our generic prayers. Thanking God is often glossed over in our prayers because we often focus on our laundry list of wishes to be granted. Being grateful is the key to real happiness and thanking God for everything we are and have humbles us and reminds us that we all depend on Him.

After expressing gratitude our generic prayer model can fall apart. What we need instead is to find a way to make prayer meaningful in a way that doesn't need a direct answer. Prayer can be a means of meditation and reflection of how well we are doing spiritually. We can look for ways to better.
Last edited by Jabraso on 14 Oct 2020, 12:20, edited 1 time in total.

Roy
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Re: Does God answer every prayer?

Post by Roy » 10 Aug 2020, 09:39

I'm not sure that it is doctrinal that God hears and answers every prayer.
Proverbs 15:29
"The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.

John 9:31
"Now we know that God heareth not sinners, but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth"
Of course that doesn't really solve your problem because the implication is that God answers all the prayers of the righteous.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Roy
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Re: Does God answer every prayer?

Post by Roy » 10 Aug 2020, 09:47

Jabraso wrote:
10 Aug 2020, 09:30
Expressing gratitude is the most immediate benefit of our generic prayers. Thanking God is often glossed over in our prayers because we often focus on our laundry list of wishes to be granted. Being grateful is the key to real happiness and thanking God for everything we are and have humbles us and reminds us that we all depend on Him.

After expressing gratitude our generic prayer model can fall apart. What we need instead is to find a way to make prayer meaningful in a way that doesn't need a direct answer. Prayer can be a means of meditation and reflection
I like this. A prayer's purpose may not be to receive an answer.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Does God answer every prayer?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 10 Aug 2020, 18:22

No - thank God! :smile:
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Jabraso
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Re: Does God answer every prayer?

Post by Jabraso » 11 Aug 2020, 11:17

Roy wrote:
10 Aug 2020, 09:47
Jabraso wrote:
10 Aug 2020, 09:30
Expressing gratitude is the most immediate benefit of our generic prayers. Thanking God is often glossed over in our prayers because we often focus on our laundry list of wishes to be granted. Being grateful is the key to real happiness and thanking God for everything we are and have humbles us and reminds us that we all depend on Him.

After expressing gratitude our generic prayer model can fall apart. What we need instead is to find a way to make prayer meaningful in a way that doesn't need a direct answer. Prayer can be a means of meditation and reflection
I like this. A prayer's purpose may not be to receive an answer.
This is a good, but simplified summation. Another way to look at it is that we are getting answers in a different way. A more meditative prayer should still be God and spiritually centered so what we end up with, an "answer" if you will, still comes from God. Importantly this type of answer should also be seen as incomplete and distorted because of our own imperfections and biases. We can become better people, do good, follow and talk with God all without His directly saying anything back. God is allowed to exist and influence our lives in an indirect but none the less important way while we are all left with our agency to do good or bad.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Does God answer every prayer?

Post by SilentDawning » 12 Aug 2020, 07:03

Roy wrote:
10 Aug 2020, 09:39
I'm not sure that it is doctrinal that God hears and answers every prayer.
Proverbs 15:29
"The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.

John 9:31
"Now we know that God heareth not sinners, but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth"
Of course that doesn't really solve your problem because the implication is that God answers all the prayers of the righteous.
The message I get from these quotes is that God HEARS the prayers of the righteous. There is a big difference between hearing the prayers of the righteous and actually answering them. In fact, you could argue that hearing, and not answering is somewhat offensive. Think about how annoying and disrespectful it is to you when you communicate with someone and they don't answer.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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DarkJedi
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Re: Does God answer every prayer?

Post by DarkJedi » 13 Aug 2020, 10:31

Curt Sunshine wrote:
10 Aug 2020, 18:22
No - thank God! :smile:
This :thumbup:

This reminds me of an old adage - be careful what you ask for because you might just get it.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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