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Is it true that God only answers the prayers of sinners?

Whose prayers does God hear?

Thank you for asking a question on This is your Bible.

(All quotations from the New King James translation unless stated otherwise).

The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no; there are ‘ifs’ involved.

God hears all prayer.

Psalms 65:2 O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come.

All men (and women) are sinners.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,;

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned

God then must hear the prayer of sinners. If we want God to take notice of our prayers then we must recognise our sin. Jesus gives a parable to indicate what makes the difference between ‘praying with ourselves’ (useless prayer) and genuine prayer to God.

Luke 18:10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.12 ‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’13 "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’14 "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

This is the first ‘if’ – If we want God to take any notice of our prayer we must humbly acknowledge that we are sinners.

The second ‘if’ comes in Psalm 145

Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

If we want God to take any notice of our prayer we must understand what the Bible defines as truth.

John 17:17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

This tells us that an understanding of the word of God is required and this leads on to the third ‘if’.

1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

This really is the nub of whether God answers prayer in a way that we would like - If what is asked is according to his will. The only way that we can become acquainted with the will of God is by reading the word of God. When we read the word of God we will see that all prayer now arises to God through Jesus Christ. By his sinless life and sacrifice he has become our high priest at the right hand of God.

Romans 8:34... It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Approach to God is only available through Christ.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

We can conclude that God only answers the prayer of sinners who have believed the gospel of the word of God; repented of their sinful way of life; been baptised into Christ; live by his commandments and make requests according to his will.

Those sinners who continue in their sin and refuse to believe the word of God cannot expect him to take any notice of their prayers.

If you want to come to grips with what the Bible really teaches, why not take the free online Bible study course available on our website, www.thisisyourbible.com? This course will give you a background in the major themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. As with everything we offer, there is no cost to you other than your time and effort... You will also have a personal tutor to whom you may pose questions either from the course itself or those questions which come to you as you read the Bible.

I hope this helps.

Glenn Smith

 
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