The bad news does have good news.Read all the way through before you get a negative impression, it is actually summed up quite beautifully but does God answer the prayers of lost sinners? I do not think so, scripturally speaking no.
Does God still love non Christians? Of course otherwise none of us would be saved to this day. Many people who read this might say, “That is harsh.” Yet keep reading and it should make more sense and you will see God is not just being mean and rejecting certain people as a whole.
let me explain:
Reason 1.) For starters the Bible says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for anyone who comes to God must believe he exists and rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6)
God has chosen faith as the means by which we for one are saved and two by how we get our prayers answered when they align with His will. James says, “but when he asks he must believe and not doubt for a man who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the sea, that man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)
Jesus dealt with men like this in the early disciples
Matthew 8:25-26 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
Mark 16:14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
John 20:25-27 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas was known as the doubter, the Lord loved Thomas but reprimanded him because he was stubborn in unbelief, the Lord loved him but not his unbelief. In another incodence we see a leper
Mark 1:40-42 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
Why was Jesus indignant? I can only assume Jesus was frusterated by the man’s statement, “IF you are willing”
These are the word’s of doubters, “IF your willing Lord” or “IF you can.”–(SEE Mark 9:23-29)
Mark 9:23-29 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
The good news is this man who came to Jesus acknowleges his difficulty believing so he says “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
I believe this is one prayer God will answer from a non Christian who is struggling to put their faith in Jesus and trying to find who God is. God will always accept prayers of repentence and genuine heartfelt desire to find him. As a young believer I got stuck in the mud for a season and this life verse helped me not give up hope on getting unstuck so I love it alot. I did eventually get out of the ditch praise the Lord.
Reason 2.) All men and women are sinners, we are all or were seperated from God by sin whether we were “big sinners” or “small sinners”
God hates sin and cannot be in the presence of unholy mankind- some think God can just overlook their sins since they are “not that big”- they may gossip, lie, or lust but they do not “murder people” or are “drug dealers or pimps”
And I suppose from a common sense standpoint actually murdering a person from an outworking standpoint is worse, and drug dealers and pimps do more damage from a sociological standpoints then a gossip or a liar- yet all such behaviors do not please from Lord whether losing your temper and cussing someone out to going as far as beating another to death.
Its like asking a person, “who would you rather be around someone who projectile puked all over their shirt or someone who fell into sewage and is covered head to toe in poo?”
One may be grosser yet they are both gross enough for most of us to not want to be in a room with them!
(Old Testament) Isaiah 59:2-8 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider’s web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched. Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. They pursue evil schemes; acts of violence mark their ways. The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace.
(New Testament) Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Now we all have been guilty of in a fit of anger name calling- Jesus was not saying if you slip and call someone a name your automatically going to hell, but he is illustrating here that no human being is off the hook and guiltless of sin. This is why Christ came in the flesh (human likeness) to save those who are of the flesh (both human likeness and sin)
I will use another analogy: I have some dear loved ones in my life that love me but cannot stand the smell of my cigarrette smoke. They cannot be around it as much as they do love me, it makes them sick.
God is like this toward sin, he loves those he created but cannot stand any of our stench. Well the good news is by faith in Christ we can have our smell removed, even though after we come to Christ we are not perfect we are continually being washed clean by the grace and mercy he poured out for us on the cross! We should not sin, but when we do we can be forgiven and confess it and be cleansed.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins He (Christ) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
B.) WHAT ABOUT A CHRISTIAN IN REBELLION OR WILLFUL SIN?
No, just because someone is saved from ultimate judgement does not mean they are free to sin flagrently. God saves people to live for him in love and obedience but scripture highlights a few reasons God won’t answer a Christian’s prayer.
1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Malachi 2:13-16 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
The Psalmist King David wrote:
Psalm 66:18-20 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
So we see God shows no favoritism whether a sinner who does not know Christ or a Christian who is not following Christ in a season of stubborn rebellion or reckless sin.
God’s desire is the same for both to come clean by submitting to his cleansing and forsaking wrong behavior by faith- not some just clean up yourself routine that only works outwardly, but repentence in the heart as well!