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Prayer

The prayers of a sinner.

James 4:3
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
NKJV

God does not answer all prayers.

First, for the Christian, we must learn that God responds to prayers in many different fashions. At times, He grants our requests, as we asked for them. At other times, He says NO to us. Sometimes the answer is wait. Most of the time God grants our requests at a level far above that at which we ask.

God's responses to our prayers are based upon His sovereignty. He knows what is best for each of us. He is able to see our true needs and to fulfill them with fair greater blessings and accuracies than we can imagine. At times we may not understand nor appreciate the answers as they are given to us, but usually we may, at some point in our walk, look back and exclaim at the marvelous method in which our prayer request has been fulfilled. A prayer journal is an especially useful method of tracking our requests so that we may truly appreciated the fulfillment of our requests and petitions.

Of more immediate concern, and of greater importance in the world of evangelism, is the issue of the prayers of the unsaved. Does God truly turn a deaf ear to the unsaved world? Does He ignore their requests? This is a difficult area, especially when unsaved friends or family "pray" for us or for other circumstances in their lives.

Scripture records that the prayers of the unsaved are not heard.
Psalm 18:41 They cried out, but there was none to save; Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.
1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. NKJV
On the surface this seems straight forward. Yet, . . .

It is important to keep in mind that God's great plan of salvation is designed to bring all people to repentance and salvation
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. NKJV

I believe that within in this salvation plan, some prayers of the unsaved are answered, as a means of drawing them one step closer to their salvation experience. I also firmly believe that in many instances these prayers are answered because believers are offering those same prayers to God.

Also, keep in mind that God bestows blessings upon all people under the doctrine of common grace.
Matthew 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. NKJV
Often times what appears to be an answer to the prayers of an unsaved person is nothing more than God&s common grace at work.

The only prayer an unsaved person may offer to God that will receive a direct, positive response is the prayer of salvation. Scripture promises "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13 NKJV; see also Joel 2:32 which is here being quoted by Paul).

Psalm 145:18 He is close to all who call on him sincerely. TLB

This is the great answered prayer of the unsaved. Want to pray the prayer of salvation. See our section on Jesus saves for more details and a sample prayer of salvation.

 

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December 10, 2019

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