That famous example of prayer we often call “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) begins with “Our Father which art in Heaven.” Everything that follows: conversing with Him, praising Him, petitioning Him—these things all start by knowing Him as “Father.”
Is God your Father? Put another way: Are you a child of God? Some people think we are all God’s children, but Jesus taught otherwise. He told those who opposed Him that they were children of the devil (John 8:44). The Bible goes on to teach that all who have not answered God’s call to repent and put their trust in Jesus are “children of disobedience” upon whom the “wrath of God” will one day fall (Colossians 3:6).
This raises some interesting questions with regard to prayer. Does God hear the prayers of those who are not His children? How can your prayers be heard by God?
Prayers of the Unsaved
Because God is omniscient, He sees and hears everything; however, He does not promise to listen to or answer the prayers of the unsaved. Notice who it is that God takes notice of and listens to: “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry” (Psalm 34:15).
Most prayers offered up by people who are not God’s children rise no higher than the ceiling. On the other hand, there is one prayer of the unsaved that God always hears and answers. He has promised that “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). When a sinner realizes his lost condition, turns to God, and cries out for help, He answers that prayer every time!
Becoming a Child of God
To come into God’s family requires a spiritual birth—Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). By nature, all people are “dead in trespasses and sins,” and our only relationship with God is one of being “strangers” who are “far off” (Ephesians 2:1,12,13). But God’s Son, Jesus Christ, opened the way for us to be brought into a relationship with God when He willingly laid down His life as the sacrifice and payment for our sin.
How can you be washed clean and made new in God’s sight? Read this carefully: “By grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). God, in His grace, rescues us when we put our trust in Jesus Christ. Salvation is a gift—bought and paid for by Jesus—which God gives to all who see their need of it and look to Him in faith.
“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee” (Jeremiah 33:3).
“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
“Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus…. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 3:26; 4:6).
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)