Does God Hear The Prayers Of An Unbeliever?
To learn more about the things shared in today’s podcast, consider listening to or watching the following sermons exposited by Dr. Caldwell:
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Does God Hear The Prayers Of An Unbeliever?
This season on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and host Dr. Josh Philpot are before a live audience. They aim to answer questions that are on the hearts and minds of those in attendance. The question asked for this episode pertains to a statement made by Dr. Caldwell in a recent sermon. The questioner tells us that in that sermon, Dr. Caldwell stated that unbelievers are unable to pray. The questioner asks, does that mean that God doesn’t hear their prayers. If that is the case, what then changes that for a Christian?
Dr. Caldwell says that what he means by that is an inability unbelievers have for prayer that only comes through salvation; it isn’t something any of us have by nature. But for a believer, someone who stands reconciled with God, they’ve been given and have a new nature they now have a relationship with God whose face they seek. Dr. Caldwell reminds us that God is all-knowing and always present. He is aware of the prayers of the lost and has no problem hearing them or understanding them. The issue is reception.
A Different Question
A different question to ask that will be helpful is, does God deal with unbelievers in the same way that He deals with believers; the answer is no. The unbeliever remains estranged from God based on sin. They are not a child of God, they do not have the Spirit of God, and they do not have Jesus as their Great High Priest in heaven. They do not have the access that believers have because of the blood of Jesus. Hebrews 10 speaks to this, revealing a standing that believers have in God’s grace that unbelievers do not. So then it is in this sense that God has no regard for their prayers. God is not going to deal with them as He does with His children.
Dr. Caldwell shares a couple of examples, one from 1 Peter 3:12 and a second from Proverbs 28:9. He reads and walks us through these passages, explaining what each one is saying in its context and how they relate to God receiving and accepting us. He carefully explains we must come to God through the blood of Jesus, trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. If this is not how we are approaching God, then it is all just religious activity, prayer included. God doesn’t have regard for that. He doesn’t accept that. Every kind of religious act that a lost person offers to God is stained with sin; it’s unacceptable. The sinner needs to know that acceptance with God will not and cannot be found in religious acts offered in their own merit and own strength.
Looking To Jesus as Lord and Savior
This acceptance is found only in and through the blood of God’s Son. To approach God, we must come by way of His Son, which means looking to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Until we have done that, our prayers are not acceptable to God. But, if a lost man or woman cries out to God, in faith, for the forgiveness of sins that comes through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that is a prayer that will be received and answered with eternal life.
What about the believer who comes to worship having sinned, possibly feeling guilty, weak, far from God, and maybe even lacking the desire to pray? Dr. Caldwell reminds us that all of the Christian life has to be lived out fully in the knowledge of the full, free, complete, finished work of God’s Son. No one, none of us can stand before God, at any time, based on our own merit and righteousness. We have to go before the Lord in the confidence of Hebrews 10. However, says Dr. Caldwell, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be times where we feel these ways. If we are not dealing with sin as God calls us to, there may be times where our prayer life becomes hindered.
We might feel distant from God and experience a leanness in our spiritual walk. Dr. Caldwell points out that God loves us too much to let us go on in that which dishonors Him and destroys us. He disciplines and scourges every son He receives. He will bring pressures to bear on our lives to turn us out of the way of sin and on to the path which pleases Him. Dr. Caldwell also points out that we can often misunderstand this leanness.
Measure The Word of God
There are times that we can feel these ways, and yet there be nothing wrong. That is why it’s important not to measure these things by our feelings but by the Scriptures. Our feelings may have to do with our physical constitution; it could be the Lord calling us to draw near and come to Him; it could be many things. But ultimately, we need to measure it all by the Word of God.
Measuring and examining ourselves by the Scriptures is a vital part of growth as Christians. It is here that we find the words of life. Without the Word of God, we lack a correct understanding of who Christ is, why He came, lived, died, and why He rose alive, bodily from the grave.
We might be considered a good person by the standard of the world. We might be spiritual or even super religious. But if we have not been washed and sanctified by the blood of Christ, reconciled to God, there is nothing we do that will please God. His Word tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please Him. Therefore, if we desire to approach Him, it must be through faith in Christ. We are to come in humble recognition of who God is, who we are, believing what He has done for us through the precious blood of His Son. It is this kind of prayer that God hears, receives, acknowledges, and accepts.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
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