Last updated on November 5th, 2019
Does God hear my prayers when I sin? I think we all wonder that after we sin. Or maybe we’ve been doing something wrong for awhile. You wonder if God is mad at you, and maybe if you might be punished. Scripture gives us the answers we need, so let’s look to see what’s said on this issue.
John 9:31 “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.”
At first glance, this looks clear cut. God hears God fearing people who do His will, God does not hear sinners. But before you start thinking your prayers are hopeless, let’s consider the context. Earlier in John 9, Jesus healed a blind man.
John 9:3-7 states, “3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.”
In the two verses prior to this passage, the disciples asked Jesus why the man they saw was blind. As you see in these verses, Jesus explained to them he was blind so the works of God could be displayed in him. That they must work the works of God while it’s day, and while he’s in the world. Then Jesus spits on the ground, he makes clay with the spittle, he applies it on the blind man, he tells the blind man to wash in the pool of Siloam, and the blind man sees again after he washed himself.
The Pharisees told the man to give praise to God later in the chapter, and claimed that the man who healed him was a sinner. There’s a back and forth argument between the Pharisees and the blind man on what happened. Which brings us back to the verse in question. The blind man responds one last time saying in verse 31-33, “31 We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. 32 [d]Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
So this verse is about the blind man explaining that Jesus was a man of God, because he couldn’t heal him of his blindness otherwise. Still though, we see the direct statement, “God does not hear sinners” here. So does God not hear our prayers when we sin? Let’s look at more verses.
Other Verses on God hearing prayer
Proverbs 15:29 states, “The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.“
Psalm 34:15 states, “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry.”
Psalm 66:18 states, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;”
1 Peter 3:12 states, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
I saw nothing in the chapters of these verses to suggest a different meaning other than the verses state here. But make sure you take time to look to read these chapters. It’s very important you read things for yourself.
God Turned Away From Saul
When I pondered all of that it brought the question to my mind, “Do I sin too much for God to hear my prayers?” I know for sure I sin some days, but is my inconsistency of obedience to the point where God is far from me? Or He closes his ear to me? I think about how Saul disobeyed the Lord’s instruction that Samuel told him, and Saul lost his kingdom and God turned away from him. And from what I recall, God stopped answering Saul’s prayers after that. Saul had to turn to a medium to bring up Samuel’s soul in order to get any answers for his life.
1 Samuel 28:15 states “15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” And Saul answered, “I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has departed from me and no longer answers me, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do.”
I point out Saul’s example as one example God stopped hearing someone’s prayers due to sin. It’s possible there might have been things specific to his circumstance which God saw it wasn’t worth responding to his prayers anymore. There’s no verse I can think of that specifically answers when you’re sinning too much or when you’re not obeying enough for your prayers to be heard. Perhaps in the end, those verses are there to encourage us to be as obedient as possible. If we obey more than we sin with each day, we can trust God hears us, and believe he’ll answer our prayers.
Peace to all those who are in Christ.