For the answer to this question let us turn to the Scripture. The Bible says in John 9:31a, "Now we know that God heareth not sinners." Many have used this verse to say God does not hear a sinner when he prays except, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Is this a true statement? It is true that John 9:31 is the inspired Word of God. But it is also God's Word that tells us in II Tim. 2:15 to "rightly divide the Word."
You can take the Bible and use it out of context and prove anything you want. For instance in Eccl. 10:19 the Bible says, "money answereth all things." This is not a true statement but in context it is saying, man says money is the answer to all things. The context of John 9:31 reveals a lost man making this statement to a group of lost Pharisees. Neither the sinner nor the Pharisees understood truth. We also read in Acts 10:1-2 about Cornelius, a lost man, who prayed alway and later in Acts 10:31, we find an angel had come and told him, "thy prayer is heard." Therefore, it is evident from Scripture that the Lord does hear a sinner's prayer.
I am not saying He will answer a sinner's prayers in the same degree as He will a saint's prayer who is living in the will of God. Men have taken John 9:31 and used that to give them assurance of their salvation. You cannot do that for three reasons: 1) How do you know the devil did not answer your prayer? 2) What if someone else was praying and God answered their prayer instead of yours? 3) How do you know it did not just happen? If you are using answered prayer for your assurance of salvation, you are on dangerous ground. Take those prayers that you know God answered (you may find they are only a few) and allow the Lord to show you that the reason He answered those prayers was to let you know that "God is" and that He is real and really does exist. Then, and only then, will you come to Him. ". . . He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Heb. 11:6)
Some say God answers only prayers that deal with your salvation. Let me ask you this, "How does a lost person who has a blinded mind (II Cor. 4:3-4) and a deceived heart (Jer. 17:9) know what deals with salvation and what does not deal with salvation?" So, in a sense, when the Lord answers a lost sinner's prayer it does have to do with his salvation because that allows him to know that God really does exist.
In conclusion, God does hear and answer a lost sinner's prayer as He chooses, so that the sinner might have intellectual faith--that there is a God, that He does exist, and then seek Him diligently that he might be saved. The Scripture brings this out if one will "rightly divide the Word."
I beg you, please do not deny this doctrine. Your eternal destiny may be at stake. Search the Scripture. You are noble if you do. (Acts 17:11) After you have searched, get honest with yourself and follow the Word of God and not the tradition of men. Tradition of men says God does not hear a lost sinner's prayer while the Word of God says to a lost man in Acts 10:31, "thy prayer is heard."
I believe I will just stay with the Word of God and junk the tradition of men. How about you? Your eternal destiny may just depend on your choice.
If you would like to receive more information concerning this doctrine, please write or call us. We would like to hear from you, pro or con. If we can be of help to you in any way do not hesitate to contact us. We love you and will be your friend.
THE PERSUADER - April-May, 1997