Anyone can talk to God, anytime: but the burning question is will He listen, or even care? God says that there are some people He won’t listen to no matter how much they pray (e.g. Isaiah 1:14; Matthew 6:7), but there are others who can pray with confidence and even their bad prayers will be turned to good (Hebrews 4:16; Romans 8:26). The difference between these two people is all about where we are when we pray.
In Adam or in Christ
It’s not about where we are physically or geographically. The Bible is very clear that God is the God of the whole world and “does not live in temples built by hands” (Acts 17:24 NIV; e.g. Jonah 1:9). We don’t need to be in a temple, or by a river, or up a mountain, or on the sea to be heard by God. Instead the Bible tells us that all of us stand in one of two places: we’re either in Adam, or in Christ (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28).
Our natural state
If you want to be in Adam: then don’t do anything at all. Being in Adam is our natural state. He was our first father, our representative before God (e.g. Genesis 1-2; Hosea 6:7), and on our behalf he rebelled against God and made us God’s enemies (e.g. Genesis 3; Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:8, 10). Because of being in Adam, all of us are enslaved by our rebellious nature, do bad things, and cursed under God’s law (John 8:34; Galatians 5:19-21; Deuteronomy 27:26). As God’s enemies, while He will always hear the prayers of those who are in Adam—He won’t listen to them, or at least not favourably, in this life or the next (e.g. Jeremiah 11:14; Matthew 7:21-23).
Relationship with Jesus
If you want to be in Christ: then all you have to do is place your trust in Jesus. Being in Christ means to hear the gospel of Jesus and believe in Him (Romans 10:11-13). But “believing” means more than just agreeing with the gospel, it even means more than agreeing and feeling (e.g. James 2:19). Believing in Jesus means trusting in Him to forgive us and make us right before God (John 3:16-21), something we can only do when God’s Spirit works in us to give us new life (John 3:3)—that’s why the evidence of true faith is that we can’t help but start to do good works for Jesus’ sake, as our hearts and lives are transformed by Him (Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 5:22-24). Being in Christ we are (mysteriously) with Him in heaven (Ephesians 2:6), even our weakest prayers are used for good by God’s Spirit (Romans 8:26), and God will always hear us sympathetically—so we can come to Him with boldness and confidence (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Anyone can talk to God
Anyone can talk to God, anytime, but how He hears us depends on where we are when we pray. Are we in Adam or in Christ? Being in Christ means God will always listen to us, because we have a relationship with Him—that’s why one of the oldest descriptions of “having faith” in the Bible is “calling on God’s name” (e.g. Genesis 4:26; Psalm 116:13; Romans 10:13-14). When you think of it that way, it makes perfect sense doesn’t it? God loves talking to those He is in a relationship with, and relationship with Him starts with trusting Him.
Does God listen to you?
The question for you is—when you talk to God why do you think He will listen to you? Are you in Adam, trusting that God should listen to you because of something about you, such as your background, where you live, your good works, family, success..? Or are you in Christ, trusting that God should listen to you because of Jesus, in whom you trust being “humble and contrite in spirit and trembling at His word.” (Isaiah 66:2)?
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