This article is an excerpt from my book, Prayer A to Z.
There is really only one prayer that a non-Christian can pray with the assurance that God will hear him. It is the prayer for mercy—from a humble heart that sincerely has decided to go God’s way. Any other prayers that are uttered by a non-Christian are an abomination to God and are not heard. Why? Well, it is not because God is not good. He is good (Read Matthew 5:43-45). It is because He can not grant any other request of the unsaved, because they naturally do not do what is right or seek after God (Romans 3:10-11). Isaiah 64:6 tells us that the unsaved are unclean and all their righteousness are like filthy rags to God. Therefore, God will not listen to their prayers because all their requests are made with selfish, ungodly motives.
Listen to what the Bible says regarding the prayers of unbelievers. In John 9:31 we read, “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.” Also in Proverbs 15:29 it says, “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.”
But are all unbelievers wicked? Just because people don’t believe in God does that make them wicked?”
Well, what does the Bible say? In Romans 3:23 it says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It also says in 1 John 3:8, “He who sins [the non-Christian] is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.” And in Matthew 13:19 and in Ephesians 6:16 the devil is called the wicked one. Therefore, because all non-Christians are of the devil, the wicked one, we must conclude that they are wicked. And so, God does not hear (listen to) their prayers.
But let’s go back to Proverbs 15:29. The last part of the verse says, “…But He hears the prayers of the righteous.” We have said that God will not hear the prayers of the non-Christian because of his sins. But here the writer of Proverbs tells us that He hears the prayer of the righteous, those who have been saved from their sins.
So what must the unbeliever do to be saved? There is only one thing he can do. He must pray the only prayer that God will hear, the prayer for His mercy—mercy that will forgive him of his sins and make him clean and righteous.
And He has made a way for everyone to be clean and righteous through Jesus Christ who died for our sins. In 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV) it says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” Also in Isaiah 53:6 it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Yes, God put all of our sins on His Son; He died and paid the penalty for all our sins. Our response must be to believe in Him and to cry out for His mercy.
When you pray for His mercy to be saved you must be sincere. Here are…
Three Things You Need to Ask Yourself to Make Sure Your Prayer for Mercy is Sincere
1. Do I admit that I am a sinner and that my sins have separated me from God? (Read Romans 3:23 and 6:23)
2. Am I repentant of my sins; that is, am I willing now to give up my sinful ways and to go God’s way?
3. Do I believe in God and His Word? Do I believe that He died on the cross for my sins? Do I believe that He will hear and answer my prayer for mercy?
If you said yes to all of those things, you are ready. Now is the time to cry out to God for His mercy. In your prayer to Him you must admit your sins, repent of your sins, and believe in Jesus to save you. Ask Him now to come into your life. The Bible says He stands at the door of your heart (or of your life) and He is knocking. He wants to come into your life to save you from the ultimate penalty of sin—hell. And He wants to make you a new person. He says to all unbelievers, including you, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
Do you sense that Jesus wants to come into your life? Do you feel that God is calling out to you, that He wants to save you from hell, and that He want you to be His follower?
If you are reading this now and you sincerely want to be saved but you are unsure of what to pray, you can pray the following prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am praying to You now because I know I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You died on the cross for my sins and paid the penalty for my sins. Please come into my life and forgive me of my sins. Make me a new person and show me how to live as You would want me to live. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, here are…
Three Things that Just Happened to You and that You Can Look Forward to as a New Christian
1. You have been saved. You have been saved from the penalty of sin and now you have eternal life. Romans 10:13 says, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Also in John 3:16 it says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
2. You have been adopted into God’s family together with all believers (John 1:12). As His children we stand in His grace (Romans 5:2) and we enjoy the privilege of talking to Him and requesting from Him anything we need (Read Romans 8:15-16).
3. God has given you many precious promises you can claim and enjoy through prayer at any time. Here are nine wonderful promises: (1) Assurance of Salvation, John 5:24; (2) Assurance of Forgiveness, 1 John 1:9; (3) His Guidance, Proverbs 3:5-6; (4) His Provision, Matthew 6:33; (5) Victory over Temptation, 1 Corinthians 10:13; (6) Peace of Mind, Isaiah 26:3; (7) His Help in Trouble, Psalms 34:4; (8) His Strength, Isaiah 40:31; and (9) Answered Prayer, John 15:7.