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In diverse contexts, I've encountered encouragements aimed at seekers, skeptics, non-believers, and non-Christians in general, urging them to pray to God, beseeching Him to "reveal Himself" to them. Is there a biblical basis for urging a non-believer or seeker to pray like this? And what should the one praying this kind of prayer expect to happen if God were to indeed answer such a prayer?

Note: this question is closely related, Does God ever answer prayers from non-believers?

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    "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being..." (Hebrews 1:1-3) Find the Son, Christ Jesus, who is revealed in the Bible, and you find God the Father.
    – Lesley
    Feb 7 at 14:36
  • @Lesley Interesting, but that passage says nothing about praying nor reading scripture, so I fail to see how it would support the kind of prayer I'm talking about in the question, nor how your comment about the Bible would follow from the passage.
    – Mark
    Feb 7 at 14:40
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    Golden Rule, I'd say. This also says nothing about praying or reading scripture, but it does suggest we should love the seeker enough to urge him to seek until he finds Christ. If he does, he will find.
    – Maverick
    Feb 7 at 14:50

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The Bible encourages everyone--Christian and non-Christian alike--to repent, pray and seek for God to reveal Himself through the admonitions to keep His commandments, be baptized, and work righteousness. We are invited to follow any and all of His numerous, repeated admonitions to seek revelations, manifestations of His love, and blessings at His hand through faithfulness.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (James 1:5-6)

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:7-11)

Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. (Isaiah 58:9)

Importantly, keeping God's commandments is prerequisite to many of His blessings. In the Isaiah verse above for example, the promise is attached to the precondition of living the law of the fast.

The Lord rarely reveals Himself to anyone all at once:

And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold (Numbers 12:6-8)

Isaiah asks,

to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? (Isaiah 53:1)

But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. (Romans 15:21)

In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)

If a messenger comes and tells you things you had not considered, which edify, and the Lord pours out His Spirit upon you, which gives you an increase of love, patience, kindness, goodness, wisdom etc. (see Galatians 5:22), you may know that He has thus far revealed Himself to you.

No explanation would be complete without reference to the Lord's commandment to Peter that the Gospel should go to the Gentiles.

And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. ... Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:30-31,34-35)

Importantly, if God did not reveal Himself in any degree to any who are non-Christians, there would be no conversion. There would be no Christians today if that were the case. The work of evangelism must therefore continue.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19)

If you ask and the Lord answers, has He not revealed Himself? If you keep His commandments and He blesses you, has He not answered your faith?

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You just need to search for "Cry out" references in the Bible search sites, or on duckduckgo. Cry out to God:

[Job 34:28 NLT] They cause the poor to cry out, catching God's attention. He hears the cries of the needy.
[Job 35:9 NLT] "People cry out when they are oppressed. They groan beneath the power of the mighty.
[Ps 145:18 NLT] The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. [Psa 28:2 NLT] Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
[Psa 55:17 NLT] Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the LORD hears my voice.
[Psa 57:2 NLT] I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
[Psa 88:13 NLT] O LORD, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day.
[Ps 34:14-18 NLT] Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the LORD turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
[Jer 29:13-14 NLT] If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the LORD. "I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land."

We know that God is not just the God of Jews, he hears everyone who seeks him. The prayers do not apply exclusively to people of faith. He hears all who does good and seek him, even those who do not fully know him (Rom 2), like Cornelius. Pray and expect to find answers.

[Acts 10:34-35 NLT] Then Peter replied, "I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.

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There isn't a biblical basis for such things, bible clearly states that God doesn't listen to prayers of sinners (John 9:31). God may reveal himself to them but it won't be because they have said a prayer.

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    How does one reconcile this with Luke 18:13-14? "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (and 1 John 1:9, Psalm 51, etc.)
    – pygosceles
    Feb 7 at 23:15
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    – Community Bot
    Feb 8 at 4:13
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    Leaving aside whether the beggar in John 9:31 meant what you're implying and whether or not it's good theology... what it clearly says is that the beggar said that. A page later, it clearly says (that somebody said) that Jesus was a demon-possessed madman...
    – g s
    Feb 8 at 20:18

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