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Why pray if the prayers aren't always answered?


Library » Mitzvot » Prayer » I'd love to pray, but... | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Rabbi Wagner: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...

tefillos: this girl in my school, her brother was diagnosed with cancer and had a few weeks to live and whatever so then today they found out that he's healthy and the tumor isnt cancer

Rabbi Wagner: thank G-d

tefillos: and my whole school is like "bla bla bla thats what prayer does bla bla bla"

tefillos: and i just got so jealous and so angry and i was so mad

tefillos: how can someone say "this is the power of prayer" when there are plenty of other people who die?

tefillos: see i lost my mother and uncle four years ago and i feel like my prayers arent good and apparently this girl has amazing prayers because god helps her

Rabbi Wagner: I agree with you -- they should have been more considerate and realized the implication of the way they said it

Rabbi Wagner: but your question within itself is a very valid question

Rabbi Wagner: In other words you're asking:

Rabbi Wagner: How can we believe that G-d is in control and sometimes chooses to listen to our prayers if so many other times prayers seem to go unanswered

Rabbi Wagner: after all, we don't know for sure why G-d does what He does

Rabbi Wagner: but we do at the same time believe that prayer does play a role -- though not always the only role

Rabbi Wagner: Let's put it in context

Rabbi Wagner: When we Daven to G-d , obviously we want Him to do what we're asking Him to do, right?

tefillos: yes

Rabbi Wagner: Does that mean He has to do it?

tefillos: no

Rabbi Wagner: Does the result -- whether He gives me what I'm asking for or not -- always depend on the nature of the prayer only, or can there be other things involved

tefillos: other things

Rabbi Wagner: But just because G-d chose not to listen to our prayers about one thing, and chose to listen about another, doesn't mean that the first prayers were better or stronger than the others

Rabbi Wagner: sometimes there's other considerations -- some reason why G-d feels a particular soul needs to leave the world at a particular time

tefillos: ok exactly so then whats the point of even Davening for people?

tefillos: if god wants them to die, then they will, if He doesn't then wont die.... i dont get it

Rabbi Wagner: because the prayers do have power

Rabbi Wagner: and sometimes they change a decree that has already been made

Rabbi Wagner: but sometimes they don't -- the prayers still aren't a waste

Rabbi Wagner: they still make things better and stronger for both the soul of the person praying and the one being prayed for

Rabbi Wagner: Let me put it a different way

Rabbi Wagner: Do you ever ask your father to give you something?

Rabbi Wagner: Does he always give it to you?

tefillos: of course not

Rabbi Wagner: is that a reason not to ask? -- After all, your asking helps. Sometimes he gives it to you because you really should have it. Sometimes he gives it to you because you asked nicely and properly. And sometimes he doesn't because he has his reasons why not

Rabbi Wagner: But the asking still helps, right?

tefillos: and sometimes it hurts...

Rabbi Wagner: There's no question about that

tefillos: really i just wanted to make sure that i wasnt being completely unreasonable

tefillos: when i got upset/angry/etc

tefillos: and you answered that, so you dont have to explain anything else really

Rabbi Wagner: Your feelings come from who you are and your life experiences

Rabbi Wagner: you have every right to feel hurt

Rabbi Wagner: but you should also learn to recognize that people aren't trying to hurt you

tefillos: right and i really need to work on that

Rabbi Wagner: we all do

tefillos: probably true

tefillos: ok thank you very much

Rabbi Wagner: no problem

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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(Yiddish) Pray.
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(Yiddish) Praying.