If God hears the prayers of sinners, why should they not believe that they are going to heaven without becoming Christians?
By Don Ruhl
Does God hear the prayers of sinners, of people who are not His spiritual children? Of course, He is able to hear what comes out of their mouths. That is not the issue. Rather does He answer the prayers of sinners? Let us turn to the Scriptures to find the answer.
In Psalm 34.15, 16 David says,
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
Psalm 66.18 says,
If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
Proverb 28.9 states explicitly the man whom God will not hear,
One who turns away his from hearing the law,
Even his prayer shall be an abomination.
Isaiah 59.1, 2 reveals that the problem is not whether God can hear, but the fact that He will not hear, because the sinner has driven a wedge between himself and God, and the wedge of sin must be removed before God will hear,
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that he will not hear.
(If you need to see more biblical testimony, please meditate upon these Scriptures also: Psa 145.18, 19; Pro 15.29; Eze 8.18; Zec 7.13; John 9.31).
The only way to the throne of God is through Christ, as He Himself taught, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14.6). Christians can enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus (Heb 10.19–22). How then can the sinner be heard when he has not yet gone through Christ for salvation to have the hindrance to answered prayer removed?
(Other Scriptures to consider; these speak of saints continuing in apostasy and God not hearing their prayers. If this is true of the saints, what about those outside Christ? Deu 1.41–46; Job 27.8, 9; Psa 18.41; Isa 1.15; Jer 11.11, 14; 14.12; Mic 3.4).
Prayer Is Exclusively For Christians
If you believe that God does hear the prayers of sinners, here are some questions for you to consider:
Is it possible for a person’s prayers to be answered, but that same person to be in a lost condition?
Is there anything that is exclusive to being a Christian? If so, what?
If God hears the prayers of sinners, can He not grant all spiritual blessings through prayer?
If He grants any spiritual blessing to the sinner, why should the sinner become a Christian?
Are there any spiritual blessings not available to the sinner through prayer? If yes, why or how?
If God hears the prayers of sinners, will He invite them into heaven, although they are not Christians? If not, why not?
If sinners had their prayers answered, would they not believe that they are also going to heaven without becoming Christians?
If God hears their prayers, why should they become Christians?
What about Acts 10.31? In this verse Cornelius, a man who was not yet a Christian, reported to Peter what an angel had said, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.” We know that this passage cannot contradict the verses that we have already examined; therefore, we must seek to understand what the angel meant. In addition to telling Cornelius that his prayers had been heard the angel also said, “…and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.”
The prayers of Cornelius had not been answered, but they had been heard in the sense that God knew the Roman man was praying, and this went up as a remembrance to God. The prayers of Cornelius reminded God of something. God was reminded of the Gentiles and that He had promised to include them in the scheme of redemption (Gen 12.1–3, and many others), and so now it was time to implement that part of the plan.
It is a proverb of ashes to suggest that God hears the prayers of sinners. If you are not yet a Christian, seek Jesus Christ, believing that He is the Son of God, and be baptized to remove the hindrance of sin.
220 NE Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon 97526-1310