“Draw Close to God Through Prayer,” that is the title of Lesson 9 in the Jehovah’s Witness study, Enjoy Life Forever! My JW friend “Craig” and I have been meeting (online) weekly, working our way through the publication.
This week we were joined by yet another of his elders, this one being “Kirk,” a man that I already know. He and I have chatted together several times, both at the kingdom hall, and in his van when he gave my other JW friend “Mark” and I a ride to one of the assemblies. Kirk is a very friendly guy, so I was hoping that the friendliness would continue.
One of the men began by asking me whether I ever pray, and if so when? I told them that I often pray while walking or driving. Kirk quipped that I shouldn’t close my eyes while driving, and we all had a good laugh.
When we got to point #3, “How does God answer our prayers?” I noticed that the article mentioned the Bible as God’s primary means of answering prayer. I asked the men whether they thought that Jehovah ever speaks to us directly in prayer to provide an answer. They looked puzzled, so I gave an example, telling them that there was a time when I was providing advice to a friend. I told them about how I distinctly got the direct impression from God that I needed to stop talking (“shut up” was the exact wording), and just listen and be a friend instead of making my next (very profound) point. Kirk asked whether it was a voice I had heard, and I assured him that no, it was just an inner impression in my own thoughts, but that I was distinctly aware that the message was coming from God. They seemed okay with that. I suspect that they haven’t really thought whether this would be a valid experience; it’s just foreign to them, because they are indoctrinated to think that Jehovah only speaks through the Bible and the Watchtower literature and leaders. Being the control freaks that they are, the governing bully would never encourage any kind of hearing directly from God. They’re basically cessationists, teaching that the spiritual gifts are no longer valid for these days.
I mostly agreed with sections 4-6, but added my own insights that would I thought would be outside of the JW box. Regarding their illustration of members of two competing armies praying for the Lord’s favor, I agreed with the absurdity of that situation, but added that I believed that members of both sides could pray for God’s justice to be done, and for love, healing, and restoration to win. When Philippians 4 was quoted, I expounded on the “peace that surpasses understanding.” I talked about some things that seem irrational to us are actually “trans-rational,” that is, they are beyond our understanding, and that God can give us peace that seems to make no sense. My JW friends are not likely to have experienced an encounter with a Christian who already has what they’re selling.
Craig, Kirk, and I had a really good meeting. As far as I can tell, Kirk still considers me a possible recruit (which they call “rightly disposed” or “right-hearted” or “worthy” one). I just noticed that there are 60 lessons in this series. Yikes! Who will tire of it first, them or me? Seriously though, I’m just wondering how long they’re willing to work with me before giving up. I already feel like it’s been longer than normal, based on stories I read online. Craig started with the 4-lesson brochure of the same title–that’s probably the standard for how long they use to determine whether the candidate is “rightly disposed.” I may have already set a record! Nine lessons going on ten! We will see how the tenth goes. Pray for God to keep the relationship alive so I can continue to influence them with the real truth as found in the Bible.