Does God Hear My Prayers When I Sin?

Does God Hear My Prayers When I Sin

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 9:31We 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, “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. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 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.


41 thoughts on “Does God Hear My Prayers When I Sin?

  1. We have to be careful when we use Old Testament Scripture to prove New Testament points. We are in a new Covenant and in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 5:21 Paul says that if we’re in Christ we are new creations, the old is gone and all things are new, as well, Jesus became sin for us so that we can become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. When this happens, we no longer should have a sin consciousness and sin is therefore no longer wilfully on our minds; it’s under the blood.
    The Old Testament saints didn’t have this Covenant, this is why they had to sacrifice all the time. Now don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not condoning sin.
    When we do sin, we need to confess it and God forgives us, but because sin should not be a part of our consciousness anymore, we should not worry about whether we’re sinning too much.
    Think about it.

    1. Hi royalpalmtree. Thank you for your comment. When you stated, “sin is therefore no longer willfully on our minds”, are you expressing once a person is saved in Christ it’s impossible for them to choose to willfully think about sin?

      Peace in Christ.

      1. You can choose to sin, yes, but it should not be on your mind constantly. You should not wake up in the morning thinking, “I hope that I don’t sin today.” If you are, check yourself, because that’s sin consciousness. I encourage you to look up two men on YouTube. Their names are Todd White and Dan Mohler. They have and excellent handle on what I’m talking about. They’ve been living this for a lot longer than I have. Check them out.


    2. RPT… I totally agree with what you said. Not here to agrue.

      This may be a bit off the topic… but, as far as the 1st and 2nd Covenants… I haven’t been looking at it as we ‘replace’ the Old with the New as much as I had been understanding that we have, in the New Covenant, the ‘Answer’ to the Old.

      The Mosaic Covenant, to me, seemed to be a vision of the Ideal, a display of God’s perfect will for us… however, in our brokenness, a perpetual impossibility. It seemed to me that, Jesus is the ‘Solution’ for all of us sinners. The ‘Caveat,’ so to speak… ‘In Jesus,’ we are imputed His righteousness, and receive freely God’s great Grace.

      So, it’s not that we throw out the Old, and take on the New, its the latter that satisfies the former, being the goal.

      2.0 is the ‘enhancement’ to the Operating System that makes it work in our condition. Not that God needed a ‘de-bug’ fix, I think it’s more that He wanted to show us our depravity and desperation first, and then, to display His Grace in Jesus.

      Does that sound about right? Maybe I’m just elaborating on what you were saying? Thanks.

      1. Exactly right! It’s when we look at life thru the OT and live our of a works mentality, that’s when the sin issue trips us up. When we’re made new in Christ, then we no longer have a sin consciousness, we no longer should think about sinning.
        Again, you’re exactly right. The New Testament answers the Old.

  2. Hi Kiera’s diary. Thank you for your comment. If I may recommend to you a book for reading, I would suggest reading a book by Lee Strobel called “The Case for Christ”. There’s a lot of interesting information in it that provides a thoughtful argument for the truth of the Gospel story. If you’re not interested in reading it, I understand. I respect whatever choice of conclusion you have, and I hope you respect mine as well.

    Peace in Christ.

      1. Ah, yes. As far as the post I read that I liked, I was simply agreeing with you that the world isn’t presently ending. But I guess I didn’t get any indication in your writing that you were an atheist or agnostic. Even so, you still might find some of my content interesting. My beliefs can be quite different from the typical Christian. 😉

          1. Hi Kiera,
            I certainly understand and can relate to the unappealing aspects of religious behavior and large religious establishments. I have had some bad experiences myself. I stayed away from that most of my life. In fact I only began to seek God in my mid-forties when others might have been having their “midlife crisis,” so to speak.

            Anyway, I just wanted to say in a friendly way, that the believer, a follower of Jesus, is not necessarily someone who belongs to, or at least agrees with many of the aspects of so-called religious establishments.
            And, frankly many of us who consider ourselves Christians, would agree that even we can display traits that appear to be hypocritical at times, and go against even our own beliefs.

            I just don’t want you to think that every believer in Jesus is the worst case scenario of a religious, legalistic fanatic. We would rather be considered Jesus Freaks.

            In love, Michael.

          2. That sounds pretty bleak, sorry to hear it.

            I’m thankful that I don’t have to rely on any place, or person, past or present.

            I rely on the Creator of this Universe, and the One he sent to save me from this bleakness.

            I pray that we would all find His peace in this dark world.

  3. FBT… Thanks for this topic. I wrestle with this all the time! My mind goes back and forth between, “I’m a Sinner,” … and, “I’m a Forgiven sinner” with a New Heart, New Thoughts, and New Behaviors!

    1. Hi edgingdeadness. Thanks for your comment. Indeed, it’s an interesting balance of a dual concept to comprehend, where sometimes people have leanings in views that go too far on one end of the spectrum or the other. Too much condemnation of one another, or too much grace without recognition of responsibility of conduct that still remains.

      Peace in Christ.

  4. There’s so much to learn during God’s periods of silence. It is, by no means, lack of listening on his part. I don’t think our prayers are ever ignored, but I do think God lets us soak in the need for his divine intervention longer than we’d like at times. That’s so that our hunger for him may grow to the point where we learn to depend on him completely.

    1. Hi Klara. Thanks for your comment. With your perspective, what do you take the verses in this post to mean when it expresses God’s ear is only attentive to the prayers of the righteous?

      Peace in Christ.

      1. I think in every instance it seems clear that the difference between a righteous person and a wicked person is in the purpose of the prayer itself. If I’m praying to God to bring harm onto someone, I’m not coming from a place of love. God will obviously ignore my requests. But if I’m at war with someone and instead of asking God to kill that person so I can be save, I ask for His intervention to resolve the issue and restore the piece, then I’m coming from a place of love and righteousness. I can be certain God will listen. He is not a magician and does not perform tricks at request. He knows what’s in our heart and wants us to offer up ourselves as a sacrifice in order to lead us forward.

  5. I think the issue is with attitude. If God does not listen and turn His face to sinners, then how do people get saved? He knows when repentance is genuine – He also knows we are not perfect. But if we genuinely repent, He is faithful to forgive – the key is genuinely. We are a work in progress. See also Matthew 18:21-22. Jesus would not ask us to do something He does not do Himself.

    Saul’s heart was hardened and he sought God purely to get himself out of his troubles. That is wrong attitude and motive: the ‘laundry list’ approach. James put his finger on it: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3. The scope of that is wider than it looks.

    1. Hi junglequeen. Thanks for your comment. Interesting points you make with attitude being at the heart of whether God turns away from a person or not. So do you think when we look at this verse of God turning away from hearing those who do evil in 1 Peter 3:12, it’s a matter of those who are unrepentant in their doing evil and actively choosing doing evil as a lifestyle?

      Peace in Christ.

      1. Hi edgingdeadness. Yes I do. The Greek at the end of 1 Peter 3:12 says, “but the face of The Lord (is) epi [against] poiountas [those doing] kaka [evil things (plural)]”. I’ve anglicized the Greek script. ‘Poiountas’ is a present participle with a definite sense of ongoing. To me, the overall feel of this phrase indicates continued behavior. Peace to you also.

  6. This post reminded me of a Scripture I wanted to share with you. 1John 1:6-10 “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, (sin) we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

    So right here goes to show, if we even “hint” that we are sinless, we actually make “God a liar.” So God already knows we are sinners to the core. (Ever noticed how easy it is to get angry with someone, or how quickly even the feeling of hate can come for one who say has hurt us, instead of love?) We have to will ourselves to love, where things like anger and hate are emotions that come just naturally to us. This is because that is truly who we are without Christ.)

    Now, if we say we have no sin, we also deceive ourselves. So we have made God a liar and we have lied to ourselves. John says here, “If we confess those sins we are forgiven.”

    Sin is never greater than the forgiveness of God. That would be saying, “The devil is greater than God.”

    God has given to us a way out of those “great sins.” The Cross, confession and repentance. Remember I think I told you, David said, “From my hidden faults acquit me.” We need to also say that to God, as we have sins we do not even know about.

    Now, if we do not take the step to confess and repent of our sins, with a contrite heart to God, then He is more than willing to let us continue on in said “sin” until we fall flat on our face in it.

    I have always said, “The greatest attributes of God are His love and mercy.” There is nothing that we can do, that will ever take those two attributes away from us.

    Look what it also says here. “His blood will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

    So to sum it all up, we have to trust in what the Cross was sent for, what it did for us, what it is continuing to do for us today, and most of all Who hung on that Cross. I lot of the time we think of the Cross as 2000 years ago. We have to bring it forward with all of it’s benefits (for lack of a better term) and apply it to our lives today. I always live with the Cross in my present moment. I bring the Cross into my life today. I stand right under it, and bask in the love of Christ regardless of my sins. God Bless, SR

    1. Hi SR. Thanks for your comment. Good verses you pointed out. It reflects to the balance I was discussing in response with edgingdeadness. I think particularly within western Christianity, in past times the reflection was more on condemnation than grace. And now it seems at least in today’s pop culture Christianity, the focus is more on grace and there seems at times a missing element of responsibility for one’s sins and having to deal with those sins that still exist in our Christian living. And as you pointed out, we have been given a way to deal with those sins through the confession and repentance that gives us forgiveness. Thanks for all the insight you shared.

      Peace in Christ.

  7. SR, thanks for adding to the conversation. That passage in 1John is so helpful to me, it rings with the ideas of truth, transparency, honesty, humility, and a willing submission. Isn’t it true that if we seek these fruits, and we seek the Spirit in us, and we yearn desperately for a relationship with God himself, he will hear our crys even among the errors.

    This is an important discussion as even the ‘best’ of us are gonna slip up occasionally and will want to be assured that God still listens.

    Sometimes I wonder if the idea of God “hearing,” or “listening” to our prayers is confused with the idea of God “approving,” or “answering” them. An unanswered prayer isn’t necessarily an unheard prayer, is it?

    I think the point of God’s silence at times is important too. This could be a form of an answer in itself, could it not? If I am sincere, then I will seek to learn from even the silence.

    And someone mentioned attitude… isn’t it always a “heart issue.”

    Many good points made here by many readers, thank you all.

    1. ED,

      I humbly thank you for your kind words. I learn a lot from your comments as well.

      God’s silence: God has been silent so many times in my life I cannot count them. He was also very silent in Mother Teresa’s life for 50 years, even though through what she did “we” saw Him daily. She never let that stop her though, from doing His will. That is one thing we need to remember, we continue on doing God’s will, regardless.

      How I agree with you that an “unheard prayer is not an unanswered prayer.” First off I believe God hears and answers all prayers, of His children. I think a lot of the time, we are not patient enough to “wait, be still and know that He is God.” That is crucial as we wait for the answer. Sometimes the answer is “no” and that does not sit very well with us, does it?

      Let us go to Job. Job cried out to God f-o-r-e-v-e-r! Then he had all these friends, “Now you know you have done something wrong.” (Over and over) Finally God speaks, and let us look at His first words to Job. “Who is this that counsels me?” “Where were you when….?” Now here Job had lost everything, kids killed, he has sores all over him, and friends that with every breath were trying to convince him all this was happening because of something Job had done. In all honesty, it happened because God allowed the devil to do it all.

      God never said a word to Job, no warning, nothing! Then when He did speak it was not a speech of “I am so sorry I let this happen to you.” I am so sorry you have suffered and almost died.” He said more or less, “Who are you, to question one thing I have done?” “When did your wisdom become superior to mine?” THAT IS WHERE WE MISS IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      God is wise. God is “all” knowing. God understands us a whole lot better then we understand Him. We read Scripture, try to put it all together, go to some of the best theologians, and at the end of it all God says, “Who is this that counsels Me?”

      He wants us to trust, repent, walk in the “fruits” you mentioned, “knowing the Spirit within us,” and know when He is silent He is still with us, and that does not mean He has abandoned us or our prayers. Enjoyed your comment and as you can tell lead me to many thoughts! 🙂 God Bless, SR

  8. I’ve had this question pop up in my head now and then. Along with Saul, there is another instances in the OT that come to mind which is somewhat similar (although Saul’s case in somewhat extreme). There was Moses who disobeyed and therefore was not allowed to enter Canaan regardless of how much he pleaded afterwards.
    I have also wondered about grieving the Holy Spirit which Jesus alludes to, that such a sin cannot be forgiven – whether or not this is such a case. Not looking for answers – just wondering out aloud here :).

    Thanks for sharing the post. God bless.

    1. Hi maxtari. Thanks for your comment. Yes, those examples add more to wonder about how our sinfulness affects our connection with God in life. All we can do is our best I suppose.

      Peace in Christ.

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