God always hears the prayers of his people. But hearing their prayers is different than answering their prayers. I suppose the question can also be posed: Does God always answer our prayers? If we were to take the first question in a generic sense, then yes, God always hears our prayers, in fact, the Bible teaches that God knows what we will pray before we actually pray (Matthew 6:8). This is true given God’s omniscience. God knows all things past, present, and future.
Scripture however, does point to the fact that sin can separate us from God. I am speaking here of the Christian who practices sin to the extent that he or she then becomes the object of God’s Fatherly discipline. This discipline can often come in the form of God’s silence. For a time, the disobedient believer can sense a distance from God such that there is strong evidence that he or she stands under God’s Fatherly displeasure. This is done as a means to show the disobedient believer the error of their ways and hence draw them back to repentance.
However, while the believer abides in these sins, the Lord does not hear their prayers: “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18). Or again the scriptures read, “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:28-29). This may be surprising to some but the reality is that sin can disrupt our relationship with God.
What about those who are not in the situation described above? I’m talking about that believer, while not perfect, is walking closely with Christ and seeking his face, etc. Does God always answer that person’s prayers? I believe so! The scripture says that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). However, we must keep in mind the importance of praying “in accordance with his will.” If the righteous man prays, and that which he prays is in accordance with the will of God, then such a person will receive the answer to the prayer. I often joke around but with a slight sense of seriousness: God always answers our prayers with a 1) Yes 2) No, and 3) Wait. The believer who trusts that God’s answers are always the best, they will rejoice in each of these answers to their prayers.