THE GUY RESPONDS: Nobody should care what a mere journalist like The Guy thinks on matters like this beyond his spiritual pay grade that are better left to pastors or theologians. However, the topic is important so here are a few notes. This assumes we’re talking about “petitionary” prayer that asks for things, not prayers of adoration or thanksgiving.
As part of this, the questioner asks whether God hears only prayers from Christians. The Guy recalls the famous prayer fuss in 1980 when Oklahoma pastor Bailey Smith, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, made this off-the-cuff comment: “It’s interesting to me at great political battles how you have a Protestant to pray and a Catholic to pray and then you have a Jew to pray. With all due respect to those dear people, my friend, God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew. For how in the world can God hear the prayer of a man who says that Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah? It is blasphemy.”
Predictable uproar ensued. Ronald Reagan, campaigning for his first term as U.S. president and seeking conservative Christian votes, spoke at the same event as Smith. Asked later about this remark, he disagreed: “Since both the Christian and Judaic religions are based on the same God, the God of Moses, I’m quite sure those prayers are heard.” Noted Fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell said God “does not hear the prayers of unredeemed Gentiles or Jews,” but then requested a meeting with the American Jewish Committee and refined his stance to say God “loves everyone alike. He hears the heart cry of any sincere person who calls on him.”