By Juan R. Rains
Part 1
The type of prayer being prayed has a lot to do with whether God
will hear and answer that prayer.  The attitude of the person
praying is another factor.  A sinner can pray certain prayers and
God will answer.  We know this because we were all sinners
without the holy spirit at one time.  Let us look at some examples
from the Scriptures and comment at the end.

In the following example, Manasseh was an evil king in Judah.  He
caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to sin worse than the heathen
caused their citizens to sin.  God tried to get through to the Jews,
but to no avail.  Therefore, God brought calamity upon them.  
Manasseh was bound and carried to Babylon.  After he was
humbled, he turned to God and prayed to Him.  God heard his
prayers and brought him back to his kingdom in Jerusalem.  
Manasseh then knew that the Eternal was God.  Whether this
means that he was converted or not, is difficult to tell.  We know
that Nebuchadnezzar also came to see that God was God.  
However, there is little likelihood that he was converted!  This is
one example of a man who was evil and spurned God until he was in
trouble.  Then in his trouble, he sought relief and God gave it to
him.  He was a sinner – but his attitude changed.  The bible does not
tell us the words of his prayer, but no doubt, he desired relief from
his bondage in Babylon and he received that relief.  In this situation,
God heard the prayer of an evil person of the world!

2Ch 33:9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err,
and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the
children of Israel.
10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not
hearken.
11  Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the
king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with
fetters, and carried him to Babylon.
12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and
humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13 And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his
supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.  

Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.

One of the best examples of God hearing and answering an
unconverted people's prayers with fasting, repenting and turning
from their sins, was Nineveh:

Jonah 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he
cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5  So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on
sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne,
and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in
ashes.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the
decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd
nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto
God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence
that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce
anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God
repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did
it not.

It seems that God loves to hear the prayers of the <truly>
repentant, no matter who they are!

Sometimes God does not hear His own people!  A person who has
the holy spirit may ask something amiss, or God may be trying a
person as He did Job to determine what he would do in sore trial.  It
is like the manufacture of a jet fighter.  Once a new fighter comes
out of assembly, special test pilots take it out to determine if what
the designers wanted is exactly what they got!  Sometimes they
have disasters.  A wing might fall off the aircraft.  This means the
designers must go back and change the design to get the product
they want.  The same is true with us.  Sometimes God allows us to
be tested to see what product He has.  In such a circumstance, we
may cry out for delivery but God knows that we can do better.  He
will not sacrifice us for a lower position in His kingdom than that for
which we are capable.  In these situations, God does not answer for
a while – even those who have His holy spirit!  Moreover, God
knows when to stop the test!  He will not put more on us than we
can bear.  But that knowledge comes to Him as He tests us.

Ps 80:4 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the
prayer of thy people?

God has an acute ear to hear, and He gives regard to the prayer of
the destitute.  He will not despise their prayer.  However, we know
that thousands die daily in places such as India who are destitute.  
How do we answer that?  The answer is that they are not praying
to God, they are praying to false gods.  This brings up another
principle about whom God will hear.  One must be praying to God
or he will not hear him!  Of course, there are those in this country
who are destitute.  Does God hear them?  We do not know if they
are praying!  God says that you will find Me when you have sought
Me with all your heart!  Although, this statement could be referring
to conversion, only God knows whether to answer a prayer.

Ps 102:17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their
prayer.

We know that the prayer God really loves to hear is that of the
upright.  God delights in such prayers.  For the upright will not ask
anything amiss.  They will ask God’s will to be done in their lives
and in the situations they face.  God hears the prayer of the
righteous.  Then why does the righteous not always get answers to
their prayers?  Sometimes we do not pray righteous prayers!  If we
pray according to God's will, we cannot go wrong.  The righteous
will not put demands on God beyond His will.

Pr 15:8  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the
prayer of the upright is his delight.

Pr 15:29  The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the
righteous.

Moreover, if a person knows the law and turns away his ear from
hearing it, his prayer will be an abomination before God.  An
example would be a person who should know better, but acts in
defiance of God's law.  If that is his attitude in prayer before God,
he will not be heard.

Pr 28:9  He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer
shall be abomination.

In certain situations, God has already determined that He will not
accept a prayer to Him, no matter who prays the prayer.  In the
Scriptures below, the Jews of Jerusalem were the people for whom
God would not hear a prayer of intercession.  This was no doubt for
those people who were living at that time or if a prophecy, for the
time of the future being cited.  We need to know the Scriptures well
to keep from praying for something that God has already said He
will not hear.

Jer 7:16  Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor
prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

Jer 11:14 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or
prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for
their trouble.

If one is asking God to cast out a demon, he needs to fast!  
Regardless of who he may be, there are certain demons that cannot
be cast out by prayer without fasting.

Mt 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

One criterion to receive your requests in prayer is faith.  One must
believe that God will do what one asks for.  A person who does not
have the holy spirit may have faith for certain things.  If a person is
doing all he knows to do and sees a promise in the Bible, such as
healing, and prays in faith believing, he could very well receive an
answer to his prayer.

Mt 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye
shall receive.

In the following example, God heard the prayer of a man whom He
was calling into the faith.  He was just praying to God as he did
regularly and God chose him for the faith.

Ac 10:31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in
remembrance in the sight of God.    
 

If one is praying for the sick, faith is required.  Again, the
<effectual><fervent> prayer of a <righteous> man (person) avails
much.

Continue ...
Whose Prayer Does God
Answer?