Does God hear the prayers of the unrighteous? In other words, if someone isn’t a Christian and prays to God, does God hear it? Of course, He does. God is omniscient. This means God hears and knows everything. Matthew 12:36 gives us this insight.

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

Matthew 12:36 (NIV)

Saved or unsaved. This verse assures us that God indeed hears everything we say. We also have these verses from Matthew that confirm we are all important.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Therefore, not only does God hear the prayers of the unsaved, the saved and unsaved are important. A better question, then, would be this: Does God answer the prayers of the unrighteous?

Many Christians will tell you that the only time God answers the prayer of the unsaved is when they pray the “sinners” pray. A prayer of repentance, proclaiming Jesus as Lord. As evidence, people point to this verse from John.

We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.

John 9:31 (NIV)

In context, this is the man born blind, whom Jesus healed, talking to the Pharisees. This verse from the Amplified Bible is “better” because it considers the context.

We know [according to your tradition] that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone fears God and does His will, He hears him.

John 9:31 (AMP)

An example of God hearing a sinner can be found here in Acts.

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.

Acts 10:1-2 (NIV)

Cornelius “prayed to God regularly,” and when the angel of the Lord appeared to Cornelius, what did the angel say?

Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”

Acts 10:4 (NIV)

Therefore, God hears the prayers of the unsaved and responds to them when they meet the following criteria.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 5:14 (NIV)

Saved or unsaved, God does not say “Yes” to prayers that are against his will.

I do believe the condition of our hearts matters.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

Consider Jesus and why God heard him.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission (emphasis added).

Hebrews 5:7 (NIV)

Now, let’s consider what James says about the prayer of the righteous person, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16 b NLT). This verse tells us that the righteous person’s prayer doesn’t just get answered with a “Yes,” more can be given than what was asked for. In order words, you ask God for ice cream, and he gives you your favorite flavor with sprinkles and a cherry on top.

However, for both the saved and the unsaved, it might appear that we’re asking for something that we think should fall within God’s will. Such as praying for God to bring healing to someone. Yet, the person might not get healed. They might get worse. While there are numerous reasons why God didn’t heal the person, one that comes to mind is, what I might call, God’s “greater will.”

I can think of nothing more important to God than holiness and salvation. It’s God’s desire that no one would die for their sins. Instead, God desires that all would come to repentance and a knowledge of the truth (cf. 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4).

I’ve heard it said that God will draw people to him as easily as they will come. For me, it took an entire lifetime of pain and sorrow, and then five years of going to church with more heartache, before I was saved. It took me coming to the end of myself to be open to receive Jesus in my heart. Now, along the way, what if God hadn’t allowed my life to be the way it had been?

So today, we’ve learned that God hears everyone’s prayers and answers them according to his will. I’d say the next question we might ask then is how do we know God’s will? That, my friends, comes from reading the Bible and spending time with God.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.