This is a two part question:
I. Which avails more: the prayer of the righteous or unrighteous?
II. Why ( does or does it not )?
I'd say both are heard on their own merits which does not depend on one's level of righteousness.
Who is righteous? None but God anyway.
It's a principle of God to seek the lost and there is much rejoicing in heaven when th unrighteous turn from their ways. Ergo God will hear their prayers as the very act of praying demonstrates a change in heart.
Now the self righteous is really unrighteous. We might like to think that God specially chooses not to listen to them but even they do pray with humility on occasions.
In the end it's not about the human condition that determines how our prayers avail. It is about the content and the motivation behind them. Besides you can ask for whatever you want but if it isn't in accordance with His will, no amount of prayer will move His hand.
Proverbs 28:9 - If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
John 9:31 -We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.
1 John 1:9 -If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
James 5:16-Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
John 15:7 -If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Proverbs 15:29 -The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
Psalm 66:18 -If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
1 Timothy 2:5 -For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
John 15:16 -You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Isaiah 59:2 -But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
James 4:8 -Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 1:6-7-But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Hebrews 4:16 -Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 11:6 -And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Rom 3:21-26-But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.
Revelation 1:1-20 -The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood ...
It appears that our reality would imply both carry equal weight. By my observation, claims of prayers answered cannot be substantiated with hard evidence.
The righteous already got it,it's the unrighteous that needs it.Since the lost come first,and they are in need of great attention,they are considered first,but the righteous avails more.
I am surprised that a basic question with such a straight forward answer can be messed up....
My answer if God were to ever hear on single prayer of an unrighteous man, then than man Truly is not unrighteous but righteous...
The unrighteous do not even have aclue as to what prayer is much less to offer it....
Kess, interesting you said this. and it is affirming something I have come to see.
That IS exactly why I posted the question. We understand all prayer is answered yes and amen. We understand when a seemingly unrighteous individual 'turns' to him, He hears. So, the prayer is the turning point.
But, there is something more. Something people are generally messing up. Creator does not see any as unrighteous. Light does not look upon darkness. So, to Him, all are righteous. It is they who believe or have believed they are unrighteous and that their prayers go unanswered; convinced they have fallen short --infinitely-- and can not exceed their sin (unrighteousness).
But, as we look at righteousness, and unrighteousness, we see an interesting thing. The prayer of either is equally answered, else --and this is the key-- Creator would be a respecter of persons. He would be partial.
Unrighteousness is simply the mentality that says "I am not worthy; I am sinful always." Yet the righteous mind says yes and amen; the righteous mind sees Creator; the righteous acts upon the truth (they are worthy more than many sparrows; many fields of flowers).
Righteousness belongs to the man who have developed a singleness of eye so that he see all things as good.
Unrighteousness is the man that create evil for his neighbors and in doing so also created it for himself.
He cannot accept that if he was to free his neigbors then he himself will be free.
His religion cannot accept this fact because it also means that the religion would cease to be and their god would be shown to be impotent as he truly is for he is dependant on men with this mindset to continue his existence..
I see where you are coming from James. Yeshua has completed the work, it is finished, salvation is ours, and God has made peace with men. So righteous or unrighteous we are all the same.
The Church says that though the sin is forgiven of all men, only those that formally come in a sinner's prayer receive it. But if not believing is a sin, and all is forgiven, how can not believing be excluded from that forgiveness.
If one had to be first righteous to be heard then that implies salvation by works. So we all stand where we are and there is no distinction.
Precisely "Salvation By Works" --which is impossible, as it falls under the same routine of the Law. The text says it is the knowledge of Law that reveals sin. This is what happened to Adam. He gained the knowledge of the Law (right from wrong; light dark; good evil).
Churchianity is ever constantly keeping folk on the fence between "your saved" but "you're still a sinner". That is the real problem. They are teaching Law and not teaching Faith.
One of the things I found powerfully positive was the text expressly says, I think by Paul, that unrighteousness MUST put on righteousness. Partly because the actual Work was done on humanities behalf. The other part by simply accepting the right thinking -thinking without judgment of good-evil. That would be righteous and definitely inline with what Y`shua did and taught.
Sorry, I am rambling. Too much espresso this morning.
Psa 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
God resists the proud. Many unbelievers are to full of pride and the same goes for some believers.
We must know who God is and come to Him knowing that we are unworthy to even be near Him.
Jas 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
There is One who is righteous. He is the One who intercedes for believers.
This is disturbing, as it doesn't make a lick of sense.
How can any come to Him unworthy when He says all are worthy?
Quoting that line is what I expected from a 1st week believer, not a mature believer. The reason the "effective" "fervent" avails "much" is because that person exercised faith correctly, inline with right thinking.
But, what most fail to see is that line does not say the prayer of the seemingly unrighteous does not avail the same measure of "much".
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