Many people around the world believe in the power of prayer, and certainly the prayer is powerful, but it should be noted that the Word of God teaches us that He does not hear the prayers of all, but only the ones from the righteous ones, and we will briefly study on this statement that I have just made.
Let us read a portion of the events related to the man that was blind from his birth to whom Jesus opened his eyes, as it is told by the Apostle John,
“Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth [emphasis added, MR]. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out” (John 9:24-34).
The apostle John informs us of the conversation between the man who was no longer blind and the Pharisees. The Pharisees were looking for ways to show that Jesus was not who people claimed to be. They wanted to show that it was against God, but we know that they were the ones that were against what God really said. Many religious leaders nowadays are not so different from the Pharisees of that time. They considered Jesus a sinner. They also considered the man a sinner, even the disciples of Jesus considered him so, as the apostle John let us know at the beginning of the chapter. This man makes them know, with confidence in himself, that he did not know if Jesus was a sinner or not, but the truth is that He opened his eyes. Why is this important? The inspired writer makes us know in verse 32, “Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind”.
Never in the history of mankind had it been confirmed that someone who was blind from his birth could be healed and given the gift of sight.
William Cheselden, British surgeon and teacher of anatomy and surgery who wrote Anatomy of the Human Body (1713) and Osteographia, or the Anatomy of the Bones (1733). The former was used as a text by anatomy students for nearly a century … The following year [1728, MR] he surgically restored a blind man’s vision [emphasis added, MR] and devised a method of treatment for some forms of blindness in which an opening, created by surgery, functioned as an “artificial pupil”[i].
As the man who was no longer blind, and history affirms, between the creation of the world and the surgery performed by Dr. Cheselden, only Jesus Christ had performed such a miracle. Our Savior did not require advanced tools or multiple hours of operation, He simply “spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash …” (John 9:6-7).
This man made an affirmation that the Pharisees had no way to deny, “God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth”. This is something they knew very well as they were the religious leaders and lawyers of that time. The wise Solomon wrote, “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). He also wrote, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Proverbs 28:9).
Both passages affirm what this man told the Pharisees. He did not know if Jesus was a sinner or not, and to him at that moment, it was something without relevance. What was important to him is that he was given the gift of sight and that, without a doubt, if no one in history had been able to perform it before, the one who did it had the power of God to accomplish it. In the following lines, the apostle John continues telling how this man meets Jesus, and He asks him if he believes in the Son of God, Which he replies that he wants to know who he is and Jesus says, “Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee” (John 9:37). This man believed and worshipped him.
The half-brother in the fresh but full-brother in the faith of our Lord wrote, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Many people in the world pray, however, their prayers are not heard by God because they are not righteous. The book of Romans, written by the apostle Paul, teaches us about how we can be righteous, and the answer is “in Christ.” Only in Him, we can be justified.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
This faith to which the apostle refers is not about saying “we believe in Christ”, but to obey him and do what is required to be in him. The same writer also wrote,
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
The words of our Lord are recorded by the apostle John, “if ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). He prays for us (John 17:20-21) and taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:5-13). Jesus Christ, the just who suffered for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18) so that today we have the opportunity to be brought to God by Him.
Beloved reader, in order that God hears your prayers you must be a righteous person according to what He commands in His Word. When you become a righteous person, your prayer will certainly be powerful and effective. If you are not in Christ, you are not righteous, but You are still in time to do what is required. If you already are but do not walk according to His Word, you can repent and confess your faults because he “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Peter 1:9).
As the man who is no longer blind said, let us be worshippers of God and do His will, and by this, without a doubt, we will know that He hears and will continue hearing our prayers.
God bless you!
[i] William Cheselden, Encyclopaedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Cheselden