He clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.”
One way angels help us is by drawing us to saving faith. God can use angels to demonstrate His goodness and to draw unbelievers to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Numerous Scripture passages seem to indicate that God will not hear the prayer of an unbeliever. For example, the Apostle Peter quoted from Psalm 34:15-16 when he wrote, “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).
While those verses describe God’s general attitude toward unbelievers, the Bible does not restrict God’s activity toward unbelievers. God has turned His face away from unbelievers; nevertheless, there are instances in which God will not only hear but also answer the prayer of an unbeliever, especially if the answer to that prayer will bring the unbeliever to faith in Christ.
A good illustration of this is in Acts 10, which describes the conversion of Cornelius, a Roman soldier. Cornelius was not a believer, yet Acts 10:2 says he “prayed to God continually.” One day an angel came to Cornelius and told him, “Your prayers . . . have ascended as a memorial before God” (10:4). There is no indication that Cornelius was praying for salvation. He was simply praying to God.
God sent an angel to Cornelius. And under God’s direction, the angel orchestrated the events that led to Cornelius’ salvation. The Bible teaches that sometimes God uses angels to work in the lives of unbelievers to bring them to faith and repentance in Christ. Although angels do work in the lives of unbelievers, their primary ministry is to Christians.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Angels And You” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.