“Cornelius said, ‘Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, and he said, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Therefore send to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea. So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord'” (Acts 10:30-33).
I have often heard people say that God does not and cannot hear the prayers of unbelievers, nor does he or can he respond favorably to any of their good deeds. But according to Acts, the prayers and the good deeds of this truth-seeking Gentile were looked upon favorably by God! Like God, we also ought to be inspired by the good deeds of human beings who are made in the image of God. That said, Cornelius’ prayers and good deeds could not save him! He still needed to hear and believe the gospel. I pray that the amazing and self-sacrificial deeds of so many people all around us will motivate us to preach the gospel to peoples of every tribe, tongue, and nation as a testimony that God does in fact hear their prayers and notice their good deeds (see Acts 10:34-35).
“And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning” (Acts 11:13-15).