Prayers Of The Unsaved
One Sunday someone in our class asked if God hears and answers the prayers of the unsaved. Some very good answers were given in the class but I continued to think about this question.
I finally decided that I would go to the Bible and see what I could find about our prayers and how God reacts to them. The following verses are some of what I found and are surely not an exhaustive list; just some of those that I felt were pertinent.
Read the following verses and see what God says to you about answering prayer.
Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.I cried out to him with my mouth;His praise was on my tongue.If I had cherished sin in my heart,The Lord would not have listened;But God has surely listenedAnd heard my voice in prayer.Praise be to God.Who has not rejected my prayerOr withheld his love from me!
Because he loves me, says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.He will call upon me, and I will answer him;I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him with long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
“Then they will call to me but I will not answer;they will look for me but will not find me.Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord,Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke.They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,And the complacency of fools will destroy them;But whoever listens to me will live in safetyAnd be at ease, without fear of harm.”
Jeremiah 7: 13,16
While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer.“So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.
If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.
They have returned to the sins of their forefathers, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant I made with their forefathers.Do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.
You who hate good and love evil;Who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones;Who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces;Who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?”Then they will cry out to the Lord, but he will not answer them.At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.
He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.”
Then they will cry out to the Lord, but he will not answer them.At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.
When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen. Says the Lord Almighty.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.”
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
I Peter 3:7
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Psalm 34:15-16 and I Peter 3:12
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
I think that it is interesting how the tone is harsh in the Old Testament, mostly kind and warm in the quotes from Jesus and then turns harsh in the letters from the New Testament.
After reading these verses and several others I have come to the conclusion that God makes up His own mind about whose prayers He will answer. It is certainly not up to us. I know that this is very simplified answer, but I do know that God knows each of our hearts and our motives when we pray to Him. Beyond all doubt He will do what is right and just.
Surely we realize that none of us are perfect. If we had to be perfect in order for God to hear our prayers then none of them would be heard.
I also believe that if we cry out earnestly asking for salvation, He will respond. He is always looking for the Prodigal Son to return home.
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