Summary: Does God hear and answer the prayers of Non-Christians?
Non-Christians and Prayer
I have been asked by 1 of you to address a particular topic & since we have not started a new series yet, I thought today would be a good day to tackle it. It has to do with the issue of non-Christians & prayer. And the basis question I was asked to address is this: Does God hear & answer the prayers of non-Christians?
If you think about it, in our society that has so tried to remove religion from the public scene, it is not unusual to hear or read about someone mentioning prayer. In a society that has been fed the lie of the separation of church & state – the call to pray & the mention of prayer & prayers it pretty common.
- We hear it from news reporters after a disaster or the death of someone. They will say, “Our thoughts & prayers are with the family.”
- We hear it from authorities when disasters strike such as the flooding out in the Midwest. I heard 1 sheriff out there calling on people to pray.
-We hear from people who do not appear to have any relationship with God, who do not attend church or read the Bible, or their lifestyle does not match up with biblical standards but they’ll state that they pray. And all these are said with the expectation that God hears & answers their prayers.
Thus the question I was asked to address – does God really hear & answer the prayers of non-Christians? Well, without trying to sound like a politician trying to win a political campaign - the answer to the question is “yes & no.” Let me address the “no” part of the answer first.
To understand that God does not answer the prayers of the non-Christian we need to first understand some basic theology about sin & sinful man. Unforgiven sin separates God & man. We observe this in the very beginning of Genesis. After Adam & Eve sinned there was a barrier between them & God. When God came walking in the Garden in the cool of the day to interact with His creatures, Adam & Eve hid themselves from God. Sin had caused them to not want to be in His presence, even fearful & ashamed to be in His presence. There was a barrier there. And the only way for that barrier, at that point, to be temporarily removed was through the shedding of the blood of an innocent animal on their behalf, a shedding of blood which prefigured the perfect sacrifice of Christ’s shed blood on the cross that would permanently deal with that barrier. But sin separates a person from God. Therefore, there is no relationship between that person & God – no matter what they may think or feel or say they’ve experienced – if they have not given their lives to Christ & put their trust in His payment for their sins – they have no relationship with God. So according to the Bible, not according to Chuck Wall, but according to the Bible, the only way for sin to be forgiven & the barrier removed is through Jesus Christ.
-As He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
-Echoing the same truth, Peter, filled with the HS, declared in Acts 4:12 - And there is salvation in no one else (speaking of Jesus); for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
-Paul stated the same thing in 1 Timothy 2:5-6 – “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all.”
So if you take the 3 big personalities of the NT, Jesus, Peter, & Paul – they are all in agreement. So for the non-Christian, there is an insurmountable barrier between them & God which is their sin & therefore they have no relationship with & cannot know, in a personal way, God.
Maybe a good question to ask that non-Christian who is expecting God to answer his prayers is:
-Why do you expect God to answer your prayers when you don’t have a relationship w/ Him?
►“I do have a relationship w/ God.” “Have you asked Him to forgive your sins based on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for you because according to the Bible that is the only way to have a relationship w/ Him?”
Romans 5:8-9 - But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.