DOES GOD HEAR THE PRAYERS OF UNBELIEVERS? (Inspired by Jill Briscoe, Rick Warren and myself)
by sana edoja 3/08/2011 / Christian Living
DOES GOD HEAR the prayers of people who aren't Christians? Yes! Every one of us who came to faith in Christ was an unbeliever once, and God heard our prayer of repentance.
Captain Cornelius is a good example of a good man who was in the habit of praying. He was devout, he feared God, and he gave generously to charity (Acts 10:2). His entire household followed suit.
The answer to the question, Does God listen to unbelievers? Is found in his life: "Your prayers have been heard" (Acts 10:31). Cornelius was an uncircumcised Roman soldier, yet God sent a vision of an angel coming to him (Acts 10:3) and made sure he heard about salvation God gave him an opportunity to hear about and receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Does God hear the prayers of westerners and easterners? Does he hear the prayers of black and white, man and woman, rich and poor, good and bad? Yes! When Peter went to Cornelius and his family, he told them, "I see very clearly that God doesn't show partiality. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right" (Acts 10:34-35). Then he explained the Good News to them and said, "There is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. Everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name" (Acts 10:36,43).
If people like Cornelius pray the best way they know how and live as well as they can. God will send a "Peter" to show them the way of salvation. When Peter comes, he will find Cornelius and his family ready to listen and commit their lives to Christ.
Are you like Cornelius? A good person? Do you pray regularly, do what is right, and give to charity? God has noticed and appreciates your efforts. He wants to make sure you know that even a good person needs Jesus. Read this story again and then pray to receive Christ as your Saviour.
Perhaps you are like Peter. Do you know a Cornelius to whom you need to tell the Gospel? He or she is, in all probability, waiting to hear from you, just like Cornelius and his family were waiting to hear from Peter. Why not plan a journey, write a letter, or make a phone call soon? There are many good people waiting for the Good News of Christ.
Just wanted to add on a personal note: Last Sunday, I went to the park with my son for him to play while I was reading a book called: "The purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. A man sat next to me and started talking to me about the world economy and his marital life. He wanted to know more about me but I shut down and wouldn't want to disclose any more information. Then, I left to go home and thought I could have taken this opportunity to tell Him about what Jesus was doing in my life. I missed an opportunity because of my selfishness.
In the past, I got a lot of opportunity to practise evangelism extensively. However, I fell backwards when I was overwhelmed by the difficulties of my life. I lost the most important focus of my life and I stopped evangelism for a long while. A few months ago, I was able to share about Jesus Christ to a Moslem and an atheist until the early hours of morning. I think God likes bringing people into our life to disturb us so we can share the good news of Christ.
In his book, Rick warren talks about his dad which was a minister for over fifty years, serving mostly in small, rural churches. He was a simple preacher, but he was a man with a mission. In 1999, his father died of cancer. As he dreamed, he'd talk out loud about what he was dreaming. Sitting by his bedside, his son learned a lot about his dad by just listening to his dreams. He relived one church building project after another.
One night near the end, while his wife, his niece and his son were by his side, Rick Warren' father suddenly became very active and tried to get out of bed. Of course, he was too weak, and Rick 'wife insisted he lay back down.
But he persisted in trying to get out of bed, so Rick 'wife asked, "Jimmy, what are you trying to do?" He replied, "Got to save one more for Jesus! Got to save one more for Jesus!" He began to repeat that phrase over and over.
During the next hour, his father said the phrase probably a hundred times, "Got to save one more for Jesus!" As Rick sat by his bed with tears flowing down his cheeks, he bowed his head to thank God for his dad's faith. At that moment his dad reached out and placed his frail hand on his head and said, as if commissioning his son, "Save one more for Jesus! Save one more for Jesus!"
Rick Warren intend for that to be the theme of the rest of his life. He invites us to consider it as a focus for our life, too, because nothing will make a greater difference for eternity. If we want to be used by God, we must care about what God cares about; what he cares about most is the redemption of the people he made. He wants his lost children found! Nothing matters more to God; the Cross proves that, Rick Warren prayer for us consists to be always on the lookout to reach "one more for Jesus" so that when we stand before God one day, we can say, "Mission accomplished".
This does not mean you should quit your job to become a full-time evangelist. God wants you to share the Good News where you are. Your mission gives your life meaning, William James said, "The best use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it." The truth is, only the kingdom of God is going to last. Everything else will eventually vanish. That is why we must live purpose-driven lives lives committed to worship, fellowship, spiritual growth, ministry, and fulfilling our mission on earth. The results of these activities will last forever!
You may have been unaware that God holds you responsible for the unbelievers who live around you. The Bible says, "You must warn them so they may live. If you don't speak out to warn the wicked to stop their evil ways, they will die in their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their death." You are the only Christian some people will ever know, and your mission is to share Jesus with them.
One problem long-term Christians have is that they forget how hopeless it felt to be without Christ. We must remember that no matter how contented or successful people appear to be, without Christ they are hopelessly lost and headed for eternal separation from God. The Bible says, "Jesus is the only One who can save people." Everybody needs Jesus.
If you fail to fulfil your God given mission on earth, you will have wasted the life God gave you. Paul said, "My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness and love." There are people on this planet whom only you will be able to reach, because of where you live and what God has made you to be. If just one person will be in heaven because of you, your life will have made a difference for eternity. Start looking around at your personal mission field and pray, "God, who have you put in my life for me to tell about Jesus?"
Your Life Message has four parts to it:
- Your testimony: the story of how you began a relationship with Jesus.
- Your life lessons: the most important lessons God has taught you.
- Your godly passions: the issues God shaped you to care about most.
- The Good News: the message of salvation.