Earlier today, I was ruminating on a few things when out of nowhere the old saying, “there’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole” came to mind.
You might be familiar with it. It relates to the concept that when facing the enemy, soldiers suddenly get religion. I can certainly understand it. I found myself praying fervently in such situations and that was years before receiving my salvation.
When you stop to think about it, it isn’t just soldiers in foxholes who find themselves asking the Almighty for help in dire circumstances. Perhaps you haven’t been saved but still found yourself praying for help in a time of need. Don’t think so? I can almost guarantee at least once in your life you’ve said something along the lines of, “Hey God, get me out of this and I’ll donate to the Children’s Hospital” or “If You help me pay my bills, I’ll go to church every Sunday” or “Dear God, please help my kid get over the flu and I’ll write a big check this Sunday.” Sound familiar?
Odds are that those without salvation will wonder “why did I do that?” once the drama has cleared. They might feel foolish. They probably won’t tell anyone that they actually prayed. If anyone was in earshot, they’ll deny it or try to explain it away. That’s a funny thing, because psychiatrists make a meaty living by telling people that their prayers are just a cultural remnant from their childhood. a way of coping with stress that is meaningless.
Don’t believe the psychiatrists.
For those of us who are saved, I could go into a long dissertation here about whether God hears and answers the prayers of the unrepentant. Or delve into why that entire prayer structure is wrong. Maybe we will discuss those things, some other time. But this post is for those among my readers who aren’t saved yet.
I’m here to tell you that those prayers are not worthless and to assure you that God did indeed hear you when you asked for help. How do I know this? My Bible says that God doesn’t want anyone to go away from Him (2 Peter 3:9). It tells me that God hears everyone, even if they aren’t in a state of Grace. Consider the case of the Ninevites. The prophet Jonah warns them of impending doom. They pray for deliverance and God spares them. These were not men of faith; indeed they had a jolly time persecuting Jews. But God heard them and spared them.
The Bible also tells me that God is constantly talking to us, even when we aren’t saved. It’s all an attempt to bring us back to Him. Paul wrote to the Romans about how God uses our conscience to talk to us (Romans 2:14-16). James wrote about a myriad of other ways God speaks to us as individuals. God is using me to speak to you right at this moment. And GOD USES OUR PRAYERS TO SPEAK TO US.
One of the few things I truly despise is the false teachers who warp Scripture to fit their personal agenda. I’ve heard people preach that if you’re unsaved, God won’t hear your prayers. They often twist John 9:31 into a pretzel to make this point, but they’re wrong. I’m not going to get a scriptural argument on this point. But just follow the logic here: if we say the way to salvation is through prayer, and God doesn’t hear the prayers of the unsaved, then how do they get saved?
That’s what this little post is all about. I’m hoping that by now you’ll have come to recognize that during those times of fear, anxiety, doubt, and pain God was calling out to you. He was letting you know that if you simply trust in Him, he can and will set things right.
If you have, then the world’s simplest prayer
will set you free. If you just prayed that prayer, find a Bible-believing and -teaching church near you.
If not, I hope I’ve given you something to consider. But don’t think about it for too long. After all, tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone and if you stuck around this long, God is speaking to you now.