Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who can pray?

For the last few weeks at church we have been going through a series on prayer each Wednesday night. Last week the pastor touched on a topic, and I had some concerns, but tonight, he expressed a pretty clear opinion that I am not sure what I think about.
Last week, he was speaking on sin in our lives and how we need to confess sin before we pray about anything else. In fact, if we do not confess our sins first, then God will not listen to our other prayers. hmmm... while I believe that confession of sins is important, will God turn a deaf ear if we pray in the wrong order?
Tonight, he was talking about praying without ceasing. He asked the question, "Who can pray?" We all answered, "Everyone". To that he said, "The Bible is clear that God does not hear the prayers of unbelievers but yes, ALL believers should pray." Huh?
So, does God hear the prayers of unbelievers? Is there scripture to back up this idea?


  1. My/our comment's coming...I've read up some and it gave David and I something to talk about all day as we drove around town doing errands....

  2. First, I would suggest going to your pastor and asking to talk about these issues; certainly, the best way to find clarification is to have an open, honest dialogue about what he said.

    Second, we must ask ourselves two questions. The first is, "is God perfectly capable to hear every single 'prayer' uttered in this world." The answer is YES. But, we must also ask the second question and say, "what then is genuine prayer and does God NOT answer (or hear) prayer that falls into a secondary category (like disengenuious prayer etc.)?"

    I have found two verses that talk about prayer being hindered by sin: Ps 66:18 and Isaiah 59:2 and certainly this concept is very true. When the biblical authors talk about God not hearing, they are using language that conveys God's heart; it's not that He can't physically hear things, but rather that sin is SO serious to God that He will not entertain the person who is wrapped up in sin and using prayer as a way to "get" things or manipulate God.

    As far as non-believers go, there are plenty of places in the Psalms where it talks about God hearing the righteous, but not listening to the unrighteous. We're not talking about a person being drawn to God through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit through the cross of Jesus, but rather unrepentant, unregenerate people who want to use prayer as some sort of spiritual witchdoctor. The wicked will never have an audience with God....period. The only way is if they repent and believe in Jesus and HE becomes their righteousnes and representative in the throneroom before God.

    Of course God is sovereign and knows the plans and thoughts of every person even before they think them. But, that doesn't mean that he "HEARS" in the true sense of the word. What I'm saying is that God is not bound by his own creation when it comes to prayer and for that I'm THANKFUL! There are times when I've wondered why God didn't answer my prayers to find out years later that I'm glad He didn't answer them the way I prayed.....Holy cow, God knows best....maybe that's why Jesus tells us to pray with/in God's will.