How often we have heard someone say in despair, “My prayers seem as if they only hit the ceiling.” In many cases that is just how far they go, for in Scripture we are told God does not hear the prayers of sinners, those with unregenerate hearts who have never bowed the knee in surrender to His Son. He only acknowledges the prayers of those who have fully trusted in Him and are living according to His Word. The blind man miraculously healed by Jesus in John 9 answered the Pharisees who questioned him as to who had healed him on the Sabbath day, “Now we know that God hears not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and does His will, him He hears.” Notice the words “does His will”… sinners do not do God’s Will; in fact, they do totally the opposite. God is not obligated to answer the prayers of any who are not His Children, but He promises to hear ALL those who call upon Him in repentance, a turning away from their sin towards Him in faith and belief (Romans 10:13).
How did the blind man know God does not hear the prayers of sinners? He knew what was written in the Old Testament, for Psalm 34:15 reads, “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous and His ears are open unto their cry.” David, who greatly sinned against God with Bathsheba, wrote in Psalm 66:18 after his plea to God for forgiveness in Psalm 51, “If I regard iniquity (sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me.” David most assuredly experienced his prayers hitting the ceiling until he repented of his sin. David’s son, Solomon, wrote in Proverbs 15:29, “The LORD is far from the wicked: but He hears the prayer of the righteous.” The wisest man ever to live also wrote in Proverbs 28:9, “He that turns away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”
In order for our prayers to rise Heavenward as a sweet incense to the Heavenly Father, we each must seek His forgiveness for our sin, turn from our wicked ways and be walking in uprightness according to His statutes and commands. To do otherwise is to continue praying prayers that reach no further than a few feet above our heads.