The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous. ~Proverbs 15:29 HCSB
According to this verse, the Lord is not interested in responding to entreaties from certain people – “the wicked.” But who are those people?
In Ezekiel 8, God makes a case against Israel, showing the prophet Ezekiel various forms of idolatry in which the people and elders of Israel were involved. “Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them,” the Lord declared in Ezekiel 8:18. Clearly their worship of idols – even in the temple – was infuriating to a jealous God. He wasn’t about to listen to their prayers.
“The wicked,” for the purposes of this teaching, appear to be those who have distanced themselves from the One True Living God.
John chapter 9 tells the story of a man born blind, whose sight was restored by Jesus. In verses 24-34, John records the reaction of the Pharisees to one of Jesus’ miracles:
A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
The proud, indignant Pharisees completely missed the fact that this supposedly ignorant beggar understood the scriptures better than they did. In saying, “We know that God does not listen to sinners,” the man was correctly interpreting and applying the meaning of Proverbs 15:29.
Does the Lord hear your prayers? If your relationship with God isn’t good, straighten that out. Confess your sin. Ask him for restoration. Psalm 51:17 promises that God will not turn away from your contrite heart.