If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
Often it is believed that if one prays to God, he will hear them because God always hears those who call out to him. For that reason, we encourage friends and family, believers and unbelievers alike, to call out to God when times are tough. But is that wise advice? Proverbs 28:9 says, “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” If a person does not listen to and obey God’s law, when he prays, his prayer is an abomination to God. His prayer is an act of sin against God. This makes sense when we consider that scripture tells us that “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). That is, anything we do (good or bad) that does not proceed from a heart of faith in Christ, a heart which truly believes that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to pay for your sin, is an act of sin against God because it is a form of mockery. Hence, God does not hear the prayers of unbelievers. But it is not just unbelievers whose prayers God does not hear, but also believers living in flagrant disobedience to God. Peter tells us that God will not answer the prayers of believing men if they do not “live with [their] wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel” (1 Pet. 3:7), and Jesus tells us that our prayers for forgiveness will not be answered if we are living with anger and bitterness in our heart toward others (Matt. 6:14-15). However, there is one prayer the unbeliever can offer to God which he will always hear—a prayer of repentance and faith in God (Rom 10:13).
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