By   •   June 1, 2004   •   Topics:


Does God answer the prayers of those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ?


The Bible teaches us that prayer is the privilege of those who have become the children of God (John 1:12). The Psalm writer tells us: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the Lord is against those who do evil…” (Psalm 34:15).

This is also implied in the Gospel of John, chapter 9. Jesus healed a man who had been blind since his birth. The religious leaders of that day challenged the man’s healing and sought to discredit Jesus by implying that he acted outside of God’s will. To this accusation, the healed man replied, “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will … If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.” (John 9:28-33).

In the New Testament, there are a few examples of prayers spoken by unbelievers, such as the thief on the cross who prayed, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). There is the prayer of the tax collector, who prayed simply, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13b).

There are also the prayers of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, who had come to believe in the God of Israel. God heard the prayers and sent the apostle Peter to Cornelius with the good news about Jesus in order that he might be saved (Acts, chapter 10).

From these instances it appears that the prayers of those who were not followers of God took the form of calls upon God for mercy and acceptance. One can pray such a prayer with the confidence that God will answer and receive him or her by His grace into the assurance of salvation and eternal life.

Jesus once said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37b). However, one who has never trusted in Jesus as his personal Savior should be reminded that if his only point in prayer is to relieve his mind of problems and secure benefits, it is extremely doubtful that such praying would gain the desired objective.

If you have received Christ as your Savior, you have the privilege to talk freely with God because He is your Heavenly Father, and you are His child. If you have never received Christ, we urge you to make your commitment to God by turning from sin, trusting Christ to forgive you, and inviting Jesus to come into your life as your Savior and Lord. When you do this, you become a member of God’s own family.

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  1. Rev. Bill says:

    In the cited verse, an evildoers prayer usually involves God blessing evil actions – like God grant me victory over my enemies. Thy will be done is not a part of their prayer formula. All persons are sinners, all are created in God’s image, still all persons matter to God. Would God answer the prayer of an unbeliever prior to conversion (even if 30 years later they become His child)?

  2. Aggie says:

    A Christian speaker spoke on God elects some. Only Christians.
    Scripture says Jesus died for all. Some will believe and some won’t. The speaker said God only heard the prayers of the elect.
    Dies God hear the the pray of the unbeliever asking for salvation?

  3. Barbara Ellis says:

    A gay person asked me if Jesus hears her prayers, I said he hears all prayers. Your thoughts on this.

  4. gerald mwanza nashon says:

    Amen and thank God

  5. caroline ntinyari says:


  6. Charles turner says:


  7. RANDY SEEGARS says:

    Thank for the prayer that open the door to god in our lord Jesus

  8. Florence Compher says:

    Our God sees, hears, and knows all. God knows before we do what our actions will be. God knows if we act out of love or out of hatred. Therefore I believe that God does hear all prayers and because God knows every heart God will answer the prayer of an unbeliever for God knows that “enlightenment” will come in time to this non-believer. God knows every thought and every heart.

    1. Florence Compher says:

      Yes, I will pray for the orphans in Pakistan and for orphans everywhere for I was an orphan and God my Father was always by my side to help me.

  9. Gideon Ben says:

    Thanks for the insightful explanation.

  10. Amir Shahzad says:

    Please pray for orphans in Pakistan,