The passuk states כי מי גוי גדול אשר לו אלוקים קרובים אליו כה’ אלוקינו בכל קראנו אליו which Onkelos translates “Since who is the great nation that G-d is close to it, to accept its davening in time of distress, as Hashem our G-d, any time that we daven before Him. The Nefesh HaGer explains that the passuk is discussing two types of davenings; the first is one who davens when in a desperate situation and is in need to be saved. The second is one who davens to Hashem at any time, for anything a person desires. We are such a great nation that whichever way we call out to Hashem, He answers.
The Midrash brings: Dovid said before Hashem, “when there will be idol worshipers who come to daven to you, do not answer them since they do not come before You with a complete heart. First they turn towards their idols to be answered; after they are not helped and remain with their suffering they come to You. Only the people who believe in Hashem and daven to be saved, answer them immediately.”
The Nefesh HaGer asks, after their idol did not answer them what is their fault for turning to Hashem to be helped. They realize the truth, only Hashem can help, and therefore they turn towards Hashem. If so why shouldn’t Hashem answer their davening?
The Nefesh HaGer answers: the Mishnah teaches that one is prohibited to benefit from idolatry. If a non-Jew has an idol he can annul it by breaking it, and then it will permitted to use. For example, he can cut off the tip of its nose, or the tip of its ear, or the tip of its finger. However if the non-Jew spits at his idol or drags it, it will remain prohibited. Why does the idol become permitted when it is broken and not when he disgraces it?
The Gemara explains that the passuk states והיה כי ירעב והתקצף וקלל במלכו ובאלהיו ופנה למעלה and it will be when he will be starving and angry, and he will curse his king and his gods and turn upwards. The Navi describes one who was not assisted by his idols and remains starving and angry, he will turn upwards to daven to Hashem. The following passuk continues ואל ארץ יביט והנה צרה וחשכה and to the floor he gazes and behold distress and darkness. Rashi explains that this person was upset at his idol for a moment and disgraced it, however he doesn’t actually intend to leave it. After he cools off he will return to worship it. Whereas if he brings the idol he totally annuls it. So too Dovid requested from Hashem, do not to answer the non-Jews davening because they come halfhearted, not committing themselves to believing in Hashem’s ruler ship and ability.
The Nefesh HaGer explains that a Yid is different than a non-Jew with davening. A Yid davens to Hashem at any time and for any reason, with or without a specific issue. We believe in Hashem and come wholeheartedly to daven and request assistance from Him, and Hashem accepts and answers us.
What a great nation we are that we can constantly turn to Hashem and He will accept our davening!