Sunday, April 25, 2010

Does God Hear The Prayers Of Non-Christians?

Last week I posted a comment on the Christianity Today Politics Blog.  It was in response to a question from someone asking whether God hears the prayers of everyone, whether they are Christian or not.  Here is an expanded version of that answer:

"Does God hear all the prayers of all people?" As a Christian I cannot speak for God on this issue. In Acts 10, God tells us that he heard the prayers of Cornelius, a man who feared God. In response, God sent Peter to preach to him of Jesus Christ, who Cornelius accepted as his savior after hearing Peter. There are those who have cried out to God promising to follow God if God would deliver them out of some personal calamity and God hears them. The question I would ask is, "Do all religions even teach that God even hears anyone?" Buddhism and Hinduism do not. Buddhists do not believe in a personal diety. Hindus believe that to interact with the divine, one's mind, ones' consciousness, one's body, one's very soul must be annihilated so that one can become one with impersonal spiritual forces. The highest state of this interaction Hindus call nirvana. The Christian interacts in a personal relationship with God here on earth and in heaven as a distinct being with mind and body intact. Many third world religions believe that God and creation are one and one must use ritual and magic spells to manipulate God/creation into doing what one wants. The Christian God is totally seperate from His creation and thus cannot be so manipulated. Many such religions believe that good and evil are seperate but equal in strength; the God Christians worship is all powerful. Christians believe Jesus' words that the only way to God the Father is through His Son, Jesus Christ. Most Jewish people belive that Jesus is not the Messiah spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures. Muslims believe that to say that God has a Son is blasphemous; they believe that Jesus was a prophet but that Mohammed was the final prophet. The Muslims I have talked to tell me Muslims have no assurance of heaven. One can obey all the Koran's commandments but if Allah wants to send you to hell, that is Allah's business. That is not the God I pray to. As people of different religions pray to different dieties, "Does God hear the prayers not personally addressed to Him?" I would answer in the negative.

However, God is speaking to everyone, whether they believe on the Triune God or not.  God speaks to everyone through creation:

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  (Rom. 1:18-20, NIV)

For those who have discerned God's call through creation and have sought Him, God has spoken again, through the life, death, resurrection and ascention of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Those who believe in Jesus Christ have the priviledge of fellowship with God the Father and God the Son through God the Holy Spirit who resides in all who follow Jesus.  So the real question is, "Since God speaks to all, seeking fellowship with them, will you be one of the few who choose to obey?"

Here is a link to the original article containing my comment where you can see the context from which it arose.  The verse from Romans was copied from .

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