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A Reader Asked:
Subject: Answering Prayers
Reference 1 John 3:22 & John 9:31
Does God answer prayers of sinners/unsaved?
HaShem, the God of Israel, is the One True God and He does as He wishes. No one can instruct Him nor limit Him in any way.
Based on your wording I am assuming you are a Christian. To be clear up front, I do not accept the Christian notion of saved and lost people posited here. HaShem loves all of His creation. You do raise an important question however. Whose prayers will HaShem accept? To whom will He reply?
Let's consider what Y'shua (Jesus) taught in this regard:Matthew 21:21 Y'shua answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.And his brother Ya'akov (James) adds:
21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
So, as with I John 3:22 and John 9:31, the apparent answer would be that if one wishes to have ones prayers answered affirmatively one needs to be obedient to God's Torah and exercise ones emunah (active faith) as best one can.Deuteronomy 32:4 He [HaShem alone] is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.And again,Job 40:1 Moreover Adonai answered Job, and said,God is Sovereign over all.
40:2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
Y'shua also taught this central truth:Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you...Sincere Believers in God pray with faith for many many things that are not received. This has always been the case, both for Jews and for Gentiles. Why is this?
7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth...
It is because God is Sovereign over all.
He hears all prayers, nothing is beyond His notice, He even knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 30:10) but sometimes His answer is no, and sometimes it is yes. As people of faith we must accept both His negative and positive responses with a hearty Baruch HaShem (Praise God)!
We exist to bring Him Glory, not the other way around. we too often forget this. Will our prayers bring Him Glory? That may be a better question to ask.
Consider Cyrus the Great. He was not a man of God and yet he is referred to as a mashiach or an anointed servant. Adonai chose to answer his prayers and to empower him to do His Will concerning His most prized possession: Israel (Isaiah 41:1: the Hebrew word mashiach - Greek: messiah - is translated as anointed). Cyrus did not deserve it, but it was in the Mind of HaShem is to grant him this honor and no one could stay His Hand.
Throughout the Scriptures God answers the prayers of the Ishmaelites, Egyptians, Canaanites and others in order to discipline His People Israel. As Israel practices teshuvah (repentance) the world is blessed through them (Genesis 12:3).
HaShem does not answer prayers (affirmatively nor negatively) based solely on our asking. He is not driven by our sincerity, level of observance nor knowledge. HaShem acts in ways that bring Him Glory as Sovereign. He responds to our requests according to how they coincide with His Will and Purposes. AND His Will is always what is best for the creation, both individually and collectively! Therefore by blessing Israel (the people and the nation) and harmonizing our lives with Torah as best we can according to our level of knowledge and ability, we bless HaShem, ourselves and all creation. Then HaShem will most likely hear and answer our prayers.
We are ALL the children of the One God, whether we accept His authority over our lives or not. Even as parents of disobedient children continue to love them and seek their well being so too HaShem hears our every prayer and acts in our best interests. And even as a good parent may be more favorably disposed to bringing joy to a faithful and obedient child, so too is our relationship with HaShem. There is but One True God and One True Parent. He has no equal, no manifestations, no opposite. He is echad: ONE.
Answered Prayers Are Not Proofs
Also understand that Adonai is not the only one who answers prayers:II Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.Matthew 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.Torah is our Source Book of Truth.II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:This is the standard, not answered prayers nor signs and wonders. Is a thing harmonious with spirit of Torah. If not, it is to be rejected.
3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Are we worshiping the Echad Elohim Adonai (the One and Only True God of Israel) as He wishes to be worshipped? It is so important that we be doctrinally correct, especially in the matter of God's absolute Oneness. Many people who study the teachings of Y'shua (Jesus) embrace dangerous anti-Torah doctrines like the Trinity. Many consider him to be a god in clear violation of Torah. HaShem is merciful. He hears the prayers of those who are sincere, especially when their requests are in accordance with His Will. If one truly wishes to receive His blessings however one should shun Nicolaitan and other anti-Torah dogmas. Worship the One True God in spirit and in truth. If we are living and believing outside of His Will we should not expect to experience His blessings.