Are Prayers of the Unsaved Heard by God?
As transcribed from the video above, Gary George says:
The way I would answer that would be in two ways. I would say, yes, he does and, no, he doesn't, and, of course, the yes is obvious. I mean, the eyes of the Lord are on every place. He sees the evil and the good. He knows all things. God is the creator of the universe.
Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment, so God knows everything that comes out of everybody's lips, so, yes, he hears, but if by hearing you mean does God answer the prayers of the unsaved, this is where I would go into the category of the no rather than the yes for these reasons, scriptural reasons.
I think Isaiah 59:2 addresses this, where God says, "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear." Notice that he will not hear. He'll hide his face from you, Isaiah 59:2, so he's talking to a sinful people who have sinful motives that can't be praying in accord with the will of God.
Even the Jews say in John 9 that God heareth not sinners, so there is an... was an understanding in Jewish theology that God is not communing with the unconverted, even though the unconverted may think that they can address God in any way, in any fashion that they want to and that God is just waiting as a waiter to bring the order out of the kitchen, to serve you, and the reason why God won't be answering prayers of that sort is... I think James 4 address that. You ask, but you ask amiss, that you might consume it upon your own lusts.
It's understood that the request of the unconverted would be from a wrong motive. That wouldn't be right in the sight of God. They can't be praying your will be done. For the most part, the unconverted are praying not your will God be done, but my will be done, and Jesus says in the Sermon of the Mount in Matthew 6, "They think that because of their repetitive prayers," and they're praying often, "that they're heard," simply because they pray so frequently or they pray repetitively, that God hears their prayers. It's a rhetorical question. Jesus says, "No, God doesn't hear the prayers of those."
There's many examples where God does not hear the prayers of the unconverted. Another good one would be on 1 Peter 3, I think it's verse 12, is it, where it says the eyes of the Lord... No. It says that the eyes of the Lord are in every place and the ears are open unto all them that are righteous. The ears of the Lord are open, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, so, again, there's a direct scripture that says God's eyes or ears are open to those that are righteous. Jame 5:16 says, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
Jesus says when you pray, the model prayer is... begins with what? Our Father who art in heaven. Can a person call God their father who is in heaven? Can they call God their father? No, they can't call God honestly, sincerely and genuinely their father unless they have received the spirit of adoption which enable them to be able to call God their father.
The new birth generates new life and a new family unity that they never previously possessed, so you must be born again. You have to have new birth. You have to be in the family of God to expect the father of the family to be hearing your prayers, and that's not to say that even the prayers of Christians are always heard in the sense that they're going to be answered according to their desires, because God can supersede what we think and trump it the way he wants to and to answer it or not answer it according to his own purposes, and hopefully, if we're biblically informed enough, we're willing to say, "Not my will, but yours be done."