Vol.VIII No.III Pg.7
May 1971

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Dear Editor,

Does God answer the prayer of an unbaptized man? Doesnt the Bible say God will not hear the prayer of a sinner?


The Bible does say, Now we know that God heareth not sinners (Jno. 9:31). Before reaching any conclusion several things should be observed:

(1) Who said this? John, by inspiration, records it, but the words belong to an uninspired man Jesus healed of blindness. John also records men saying Jesus was Josephs son (Jno. 6:42). Beware of conclusions based upon uninspired statements.

(2) The question in the passage is not the covenant right of prayer. All people in the passage were Jews and under covenant to God. All had the ordinary rights of prayer afforded by that covenant.

(3) If no sinner is heard, no man will be heard. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and all do sin (Jno. 1:8,10). Through prayer the sinning Christian receives his forgiveness from God (1 Jno. 1:9 2:1).

(4) This is evidently a conclusion the Jews accepted from reading, He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination (Prov. 28:9). This principle governs any man praying to God. In any age —baptized or not —a man who refuses to hear God has no right to expect God to listen to him pray. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer;... For they hated knowledge... .They would none of my counsel.... Read Prov. 1:22—33.

Now, will God hear a man before he has been baptized? (1) I do not know for sure. There is no guarantee he will. He does not violate his word if he chooses to hear and answer such a man; he is not committed by his word to answer.

(2) There seems to be two cases of God hearing an unbaptized mans praying. God tells Ananias that Saul is praying —and has seen a vision —while waiting to be told what God requires (Act. 9:11,12). At least, God did not ignore his prayer. Cornelius prayed to God and his prayer was heard (Act. 10:2-4; 30-31). Both circumstances are unusual; be slow to draw and apply general conclusions from them.

(3) For what is the unbaptized man praying? He may not ask for pardon, but his request for help in finding and receiving truth may be another matter (Mt. 5:6). I find no reason for refusing to pray such a prayer with unbaptized truth seekers.

Some things may he firmly established in this matter:

(1) A man who refuses to obey any part of the truth wastes his time in prayer. God surely will not hear.

(2) A Christian who seeks to live by the Bible has a sure audience with God and Jesus as his advocate.

(3) The truth seeker who wants to obey God should not be discouraged in praying. It is a good sign and God takes notice.

(4) The unbaptized man cannot sub- stitute prayer for faith and baptism. Even if God does hear his prayer. his soul must be purified by obeying the truth (1 Pet. 1:22).

(5) A man who is willing to obey — thus possibly be heard — will not long continue unbaptized. Joe Fitch