Does God Answer Sinners’ Prayers?
God does NOT hear a sinner’s prayer, none save one: the Sinner’s Prayer.
Recently, a Facebook friend of mine started an interesting conversation which shortly turned into a debate with a confused, Mormon woman upholding certain beliefs that are just not founded in the Bible. Not the mainstream Bible anyway. One of these beliefs was that God hears and answers sinners’ prayers. Everyone else on the thread (and there were several) disagreed with her thoughts and provided ample scriptural proof to show why. She was NOT trying to hear it.
I knew the woman was wrong, but didn’t have the time to sit down and share with her why her mindset on this particular topic was wrong. But I did later.
Prayer is two-way communication between God and us. And bar the prayer of salvation a.k.a. The Sinner’s Prayer, I do not believe the Bible supports God hearing and answering a sinner’s prayer because it’s like saying they can access the benefits of salvation without meeting the most minimal requirement--salvation.
The Necessity of Sonship
When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He gave them the perfect model: the Lord’s Prayer. And it begins as such:
Thus, we see that the very structure of prayer is based on the foundation of sonship. “Our Father…” The only reason God hears and answers the Prayer of Salvation by a sinner is because they are desiring to be borne of the Spirit and thus, become a son of God, even if they don’t understand that much just yet.
Here is some of what the Bible says about sons of God:
Being a son of God is what affords us the privilege of answered prayer.
The Authority of Sonship (Being a Joint-Heir with Christ)
Being a son is one thing, but being knowledgeable enough and mature enough in the Word to actually utilize your authority in prayer as not just a son, but an heir is quite another story.
Being an heir gives you authority to appropriate the will of God (effective in us upon reception of redemption because of Jesus’ death on the cross) and thus we pray from a place of authority that a sinner not saved by grace cannot.
As co-rulers, governors, ambassadors, placed in our respective locations to colonize the earth to the ways of heaven, we cannot expect to pray prayers that make it past the ceiling without God-given authority.
We are to come before God’s throne boldly--not arrogantly. Not all-knowingly (that’s not even possible!). But it is our sonship and joint-heir status that provides us with this holy boldness exhibited so well by the apostles in the New Testament and even the saints of the Old.
We don’t beg, we command. We don’t plead, we bind and we loose. Our authority makes us bold.
After all, the Kingdom ushered in an opportunity to be part of the most militant Body of Christ, consistently engaging in warfare that warrants boldness.
For God or Against Him?
The truth of the matter is if we are not sons of God, we are sons of Satan. Of course, he has no ability to biologically beget, but we are sons of disobedience and thus his. And without truthful acknowledgement of our sin, asking God for forgiveness, receiving that forgiveness, and living as sons of God, then we are sons of the fallen one.
But Aren’t We All Sinners?
One of the main protests (and points of contention/confusion I might add of the Facebooking woman) was “but we’re all sinners so by your own admission, God wouldn’t hear any of our prayers.”
Yes and no.
We were all born into sin (Psalm 51:5), have sinned, and likely still sin from time to time. It’s part of our earthly “sin nature.”
But let’s read that verse in context.
Therefore, we are born to sin, but through Christ’s blood, made righteous and no longer need identify ourselves as what we were, but as what we are: sons of God.
All born of the flesh are all creations of God. But we who are born of the spirit have the right to be called sons of God through faith and no fault of our own, thus making us separate from those who are not sons of God.
All have this opportunity extended to them in one way or another, yet the choice to accept or refuse is what draws the line.
Prayer is a wonderful opportunity and connection to God that is meant for all of us to enjoy. However, we can only effectively pray as sons of God and thus, Christians