Paul warns twice that those preaching another gospel are under the anathema of God (Galatians 1:8,9). Yet many people who claim answered prayers are from churches or religions who preach a deviant gospel. Are their answers to prayer just coincidences? Why would God answer the prayers of those who may not be right with him? Would He not be enabling them with a false sense of security? How then do I know that the answers to my prayers are real, as opposed to being coincidence? Finally, consider 1 John 3:21-24 and Acts 2:38. Does God answer prayers regardless of correct doctrine? -- Bo Jensvold

As I have suggested in The Spirit (IPI, 2005), God does occasionally answer the prayers of those who are not right with him. And yes, this could give a false sense of security, but the burden is on the individual not to interpret God's goodness (e.g. the falling rain, as in Matthew 5) as a blessing proving he is saved. The Lord's blessings should humble us and drive us to seek his will in his Word.

Since this is my view, I have no need to try to prove that answered prayers are demonic, psychological, or mere coincidence. (Many people believe that there is no such thing as coincidence, given the sovereignty of God. As someone said, "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." I like that.) On the other hand, I am skeptical when it comes to claims of miracles, and especially claims of answered prayers in the lives of those who live in rejection of God.

For more on this, see Q&A 0340: Prayers of non-Christians.

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