John 9:31b ...if any man be a worshipper of God, and does his will, him he hears.
Yesterday I was cleaning up some paperwork on my desk at home and I came across a piece of paper where I had written in the corner John 9:31. I do not recall the original circumstances that had made me write this verse down; however, I opened up the Bible to this verse and upon reading and thinking about it some more I felt compelled to write some thoughts down...
I think the meaning of this scripture becomes clearer when asking yourself the question "whose prayers does God listen and respond to?" The answer here clearly states that God listens and responds to the one who worships God and who does the will of God. We see in Psalm 34:15 that "the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry" and in Proverbs 15:29 it is written "the Lord is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the rightous."
A consistent theme in the Bible is God's refusal to hear the prayers/cries of the unbeliever who is unrepentant and living in habitual sin against God (see Isaiah 59:1-2; Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15; Jeremiah 11:11; Ezekiel 8:18; Amos 5:23; 1 Peter 3:12). However, God does hear the prayers/cries of any man who by the grace of God fears, loves, and adores him sincerely and who does his will.
So there is no confusion, this verse is not suggesting that God does not listen to the cries of the sinner for salvation. It does however suggest that the promises of God to his children (the elect) are not reserved for unbelievers who deny Jesus Christ. While this is probably accepted by most, it is unfortunately not all that uncommon to hear Christians giving advice to non-Christians that they should pray to God when faced with tough life circumstances. While the intention of the Christian, though misguided as it is, may be good, the Bible is clear that God will not hear the prayers of those who do not worship and obey him. The first piece of advice we need give to those who are not Christians is that they turn from their sin and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Man, by the grace of God, must hear and respond to God's word before God is going to hear and respond to Man's word!