The Kind of Prayer God Hears

Psalm 65

True atheism is rare. Everyone prays at some time, but how? Here are prayers that fall to the ground, and why, contrasted with the kind that God has promised to answer. To know these things is to know how to approach and find God in a true and personal way.

‘Thou that hearest prayer: unto Thee shall all flesh come.

I’d like us to think in the brief time we have of the kind of prayer God hears and the kind of prayer that God most certainly does not hear. I remember speaking on this in a broadcast talk over 30 years ago, which we incorporated in a pamphlet and it is still available for you to see. But I’d very much like to revisit this subject tonight because it’s so vital and so important for us. Prayer. Prayer is a human instinct. Why, down the centuries, all kinds of people have spoken about their prayers, prayers that they have made.

If you read about World War Two, you’ll read endlessly about soldiers, men of courage and men who were in great fear, praying. People who may never have prayed before. You’ll read about pilots and how they would say, Well, whatever we would say, we all prayed when it came to the moment of fear and anxiety. A few years ago, there was a round the world yachtsman – a very tough character – who described himself as something of an extreme atheist, and his rather large vessel overturned. I don’t know where it was – a few 100 miles away from Australia, but a long way from any rescue. And this man was caught in an air pocket under the hull with little or no hope of rescue. And he tells us how he prayed and how much he prayed and what he prayed.

It’s an instinct to pray. It’s an instinct not just of cowards, as one famously said, but an instinct also of the most courageous. Prayer. The word used in the Old Testament means pleading, asking. Everybody has an instinct for prayer and all pray at some time. That’s implied in our verse. Thou that hearest prayer: unto thee shall all flesh come. And everyone does come at some time or other, even if they turn their back on it. True atheism is actually quite rare.

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SermonThe Prayer that God Hears