Does God answer the prayers of an atheist?

Among the crazy ideas that float around in my head is the title of this blog. I suppose I was motivated to think of this because I was asked by someone if, as an atheist, I ever pray, as if that would negate my lack of belief. Who says that atheists cannot or must not pray? It is only natural to indulge in wishful thinking, and what is a prayer if not wishful thinking. Some such wishes are trivial (“I hope I get a Wii for my birthday”) or serious (“let my son be safe in the army”). But, the difference between the wishful thinking of a believer and that of an atheist is that the former thinks that there is a fairy in the sky (called God) who will actually do something to see that his prayer is fulfilled, while the atheist knows that there is no such creature.
The leader of the Baptists in a speech some years ago stated that “God does not answer the prayers of a Jew.” The idea that someone can know what prayers God does or does not answer was rather amusing to me. That a whole group of people could, as it were, be excommunicated, and especially the Jews who invented this God that the Baptists pray to, is a rather bizarre and arrogant concept.
Also, it raises the question, even if an atheist does not believe in God, and let’s say that he/she/it actually exists, why would he not consider the sincere prayerful wish of an atheist as equal to that of any believer. After all, aren’t we all “God’s creatures,” according to some interpretations. Or do you actually have to “prove” to God that you believe in him (and only your particular version of him) in order to have your prayer answered. This seems discriminatory to me.
Also, in what language does God hear prayers, or is he instantly multi-lingual, only thinking it is necessary? Muslims believe that you must pray in Arabic, hence most of the world’s Muslims pray in a language they cannot understand (weird). Catholics removed the limitation of praying in Latin, just so that believers could speak to God in their own language, as if he no longer needed Latin. Of course, Jews pray in Hebrew, but can also say personal prayers in whatever language they like, since the Hebrew God is of course omniscient. How convenient.

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