Tim Johnson, editor
March 27, 2011
Clean with the Lord
Whose Prayer Will God Hear?
Many people are of the opinion that God will hear (in the sense of answering) the prayers of all who pray to Him. However, there is no evidence in the Scriptures that such is the case. The truth about this subject (as well as others) is revealed in the Scriptures.
Let us examine this question ("Whose prayer will God hear?") in light of divine revelation.
First, let us consider the question from a negative viewpoint. GOD WILL NOT HEAR:
1. SINNERS! The blind man (whose sight was restored by Jesus) said: "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth." (John 9:31).NOTE: The unbelieving Jews had said, "... We know that this man is a sinner," and "... We know not from whence he is." (See John 9:24, 29). It was in this context that the blind man spoke in verse 31. Also see Isaiah 59:1-2.
2. THE WICKED! "The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous." (Proverbs 15:29). Also see Psalms 34:16; 1 Peter 3:12.
3. THOSE WHO DISREGARD HIS LAW! In the prior dispensation, Solomon declared: "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." (Proverbs 28:9). NOTE: Not only would God not hear the person who would not hear the law of God, but even his prayer was an abomination to God!
4. THOSE WHO REGARD INIQUITY IN THEIR HEARTS! The Psalmist said: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." (Psalms 66:18).
Although God will not hear those discussed above, God's word teaches that GOD WILL HEAR:
1. THE RIGHTEOUS! Peter said: "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: ... "(1Peter 3:12) A long time ago, the Psalmist said: "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of their troubles." (34:15-17).NOTE: To be righteous (and to be born of Christ), one must do righteousness. (See 1 John 2:29; Acts 10:35; Rom 1:16; Mark 16:16).
2. THOSE WHO WORSHIP GOD AND DO HIS WILL! The blind man (whose sight was restored by Jesus) said: "... If any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth." (John 9:31). NOTE: This is not describing an alien sinner who is at "an old fashioned altar" trying to "pray through" to salvation! "Praying through to salvation" is NOT taught in God's Word!
3. THOSE WHO KEEP GOD'S COMMANDMENTS! John stated: "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those thing that are pleasing in his sight." (1John 3:22). NOTE: One must hear, believe and obey God's will in order to become a child of God and thus be in position to pray with the assurance that God will answer his prayers. (See John 3:3-5; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-41; Romans 10:9-10; Galatians 3:26-27).
Let none of us be guilty of arbitrarily setting the conditions of acceptable prayer to God. God's Word is the only standard to which we may appeal. Only those who are God's children have the right to pray, saying, "Our Father which art in heaven ... " All other accountable people are "Children of the wicked one." (Cf. Luke11:1-4; Matthew 13:38; John 8:44).
-- Carrol Sutton
Jason had misbehaved, so his mother sent him to his room. A short time later, he came out and said to his mother, "I've been thinking about what I did and I said a prayer." His mother, pleased with his attitude, encouraged his behavior. "That's wonderful. If you ask God to make you good, I know He will help you." "But I didn't ask Him to help me be good," Jason said. "I asked Him to help you put up with me."
Prayers like Jason's are not uncommon. We don't like to admit that we may be to blame for the problem, so we petition the Lord to change other people or our circumstances. In doing so, we focus on secondary problems and avoid the heart of the matter -- our own heart. Praying about our circumstances is effective only when we come clean with the Lord about our own sin. In David's prayer in Psalm 51, he first asked for mercy (v.1). Then he acknowledged his sin (v.3), asked for a clean heart (v.10), and asked for a restoration of the joy of his salvation (v.12). When David confessed the shameful deeds of adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11), he made no excuses.
God wants nothing less than our total honesty when we talk with Him. We may have to struggle with ourselves -- that kind of praying is not always comfortable -- but it's most profitable.
-- Dennis DeHann