GOD HEAR THE PRAYER OF A SINNER?
The other day I was ask this question, "Will
God hear the prayer of a sinner?" The one asking the question quoted the
John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not
sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him
he heareth. (KJV)
Many don't pray because they are not sure
God is listening. They may feel that what they have done -- that is the
sin in their life -- prevents God from listening.
Isa 59:1-2 Behold, the LORD's hand is not
shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins
have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (KJV)
This is an important question!
Rom 3:10-11 As it is written, There is none
righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none
that seeketh after God. (KJV)
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God; (KJV)
I. Does God Listen To the Prayer of A Sinner?
A. Listen to James.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another,
and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (KJV)
B. Listen to John.
1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from
all unrighteousness. (KJV)
C. Luke's account of the thieves crucified
Luke 23:33-43 And when they were come to the
place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors,
one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father,
forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment,
and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with
them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he
be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming
to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the
Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters
of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one
of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be
Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying,
Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And
we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this
man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me
when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say
unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (KJV)
Matthew and Mark record that both thieves
were railing him. Yet one of them repented and asks to be with Christ in
paradise. Jesus heard and answered his prayer.
Mt 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified
with him, cast the same in his teeth. (KJV)
Mk 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend
now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified
with him reviled him. (KJV)
C. Does God even listen to prayers of those
outside of Christ?
1. Cornelius prayers were heard.
Acts 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was
afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and
thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. (KJV)
2. Jesus tells those searching for the truth
to ask and they shall receive.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek,
and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
3. Jesus portrayed in parable of the Pharisee
and the publican that God answers sinner's prayer.
Luke 18:9-14 And he spake this parable unto
certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised
others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee,
and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself,
God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust,
adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give
tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would
not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast,
saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down
to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth
himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
D. Does God hear the prayer of a child of
God who sins?
God answered Paul's prayer when he was struggling
with sin? God answers prayers so that we will not be deprived of learning
more about his grace.
2 Cor 12:7-9
And lest I should be exalted above measure
through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn
in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted
above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it
might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient
for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly
therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ
may rest upon me.
David's prayer after his adultery.
Psa 51:1-10 Have mercy upon me, O God, according
to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies
blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse
me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever
before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in
thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear
when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my
mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and
in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop,
and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me
to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create
in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Samson's prayer after a pitiful life.
Samson & Delilah
Judges 16:17-20 That he told her all his heart,
and said unto her, There hath not come a rasor upon mine head; for I have
been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my
strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other
man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent
and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once,
for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines
came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep
upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off
the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength
went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And
he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before,
and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
Judges 16:27-31 Now the house was full of
men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there
were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while
Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD,
remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once,
O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood,
and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the
other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines.
And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords,
and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at
his death were more than they which he slew in his life. Then his brethren
and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him
up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burying place of Manoah
his father. And he judged Israel twenty years. (KJV)
The Hebrew writer list Samson in the Hall
Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the
time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and
of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: (KJV)
E. Does God hear the prayer of the rebellious?
Num 22:9-12 And God came unto Balaam, and
said, What men are these with thee? And Balaam said unto God, Balak the
son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, Behold, there is
a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come
now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and
drive them out. And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them;
thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed. (KJV)
Peter indicates that Balaam was a sinner.
2 Pet 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way,
and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who
loved the wages of unrighteousness; (KJV)
Jude 1:11 Woe unto them! for they have gone
in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward,
and perished in the gainsaying of Core. (KJV)
God hears and answers but it isn't the answer
for which he is looking.
God's face was against Balaam.
1 Pet 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over
the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of
the Lord is against them that do evil. (KJV)
Balaam's prayers were for his personal gain
and therefore answered accordingly. But they were heard and answered.
James 4:2-3 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill,
and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not,
because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that
ye may consume it upon your lusts. (KJV)
2. Rich man.
Luke 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham,
have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger
in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (KJV)
Luke 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore,
father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: (KJV)
His prayer was heard and answered, but it
wasn't the answer for which he had hoped.
II. What Does It Mean "God will not hear
the prayer of a sinner."
A. Context is the most important thing when
studying the Bible.
John 9:29-34 We know that God spake unto Moses:
as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and
said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from
whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth
not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will,
him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened
the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could
do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born
in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
The blind man was speaking and he concluded
that if a sinner were trying to do what Jesus did, that is heal him of
his blindness, God would not hear his prayer. The conclusion was that this
man was from God or else God wouldn't hear.
A sinner in rebellion to God, trying to heal
the blind man of his prayer, would have gotten the answer Balaam got when
he ask God to curse the Israelites. He would not have succeeded. That is
all the blind man meant. This statement in John 9:31 should never be used
to convince anyone that God does hear the prayer of a sinner. This may
leave the immature Christian thinking that once you fail in your faithfulness
to God he never wants to hear from you again. Nothing could be farther
from the truth.
This really has nothing to do with asking
for forgiveness when we sin. The Bible is clear, God hears the prayers
of those who are seeking to worship him and do his will even though we
fail and are sinners.
B. Solomon Describes the type of person God
will not hear.
Prov 1:22-33 How long, ye simple ones, will
ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools
hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit
unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and
ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have
set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will
laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear
cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when
distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but
I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore
shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their
own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the
prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall
dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. (KJV)
C. The type of sinner God hears.
Ps 34:17-18 The righteous cry, and the LORD
heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh
unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite
Ps 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken
spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (KJV)
1 John 1:9-10 If we confess our sins, he is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is
not in us. (KJV)
D. Simon the soccerer is an excellent example.
III. God will answer the sinner's prayer
Hosea 13:4-8 "But I am the LORD your God,
out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me.
I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed
them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud;
then they forgot me. So I will come upon them like a lion, like a leopard
I will lurk by the path. Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack
them and rip them open. Like a lion I will devour them; a wild animal will
tear them apart. (NIV)
Hosea 14:1-2 Return, O Israel, to the LORD
your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return
to the LORD. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips. (NIV)
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how
oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until
seventy times seven. (KJV)
Our forgiveness is to be unlimited toward
those who sin against us. If our forgiveness is to be patterned after God's
forgiveness, does this not point out that God is committed to hearing a
sinner's prayer for forgiveness.__