Today and tomorrow's "lifewords" on Prayer will focus on forgiveness and its relationship to prayer. Receiving and extending forgiveness is very crucial to our effective prayer life.
First, receiving forgiveness! Our access to the throne room is only by the blood of Jesus. Oh that precious blood, that precious sacrifice that purchased our redemption and forgiveness! Thank Him every day for that powerful blood that blots out our sin and made a way for us to come into His very presence. Incredible!
Let's be sure to understand this. Because of Adam's disobedience, every one of us was born with a sin nature, separated from God (Romans 3:23), but our trust in His finished work on that Cross, our repentance and receiving of His grace caused a great exchange! (Romans 6:23) The old nature was covered by that blood and we became a new creation in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17) Now, we can come boldly to the throne of Grace to find mercy and grace to help our time of need. (Heb. 4:16) At the moment of our new birth in Him, the Holy Spirit came to dwell inside of us and will never leave us. This was God's amazing plan.....He wanted to dwell, not in a man-made temple, but live in us through the Person of the Holy Spirit. ( John 14:23, 2 Cor. 6:16)
But, while we are on this Earth, we still deal with our carnal nature, our flesh, emotions, and will and we have need of our Advocate with the Father, Jesus! Every day we need the power of that blood that forgives and cleanses. 1 John 1:9 is a scripture I acknowledge every single day. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." It's so amazing to know that when we miss it, when we disobey God's ways, we can ask for forgiveness,receive it and go forward in His grace. The Holy Spirit will not only reveal sin, but link arms with us to walk us out of it into victory. I love fresh starts!
You must know this about prayer. We can't just approach God any old way! We approach Him by faith , cleansed by the blood, clothed in His righteousness. Psalm 66:18 says "if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." That is a pretty clear prayer scripture. We can't ignore our unconfessed sin and disobedience. He doesn't either! But He has made provision for us to be forgiven and cleansed and able to come into His presence boldly, because we have exchanged our filthy rags for His robe of righteousness. We must allow His Light to expose sin in our hearts, repent, receive forgiveness and ask the Holy Spirit to help us walk in obedience to Him.
I'm so thankful for forgiveness. Receive it. It's by faith. Then knowing you are forgiven, forgive yourself. Don't allow condemnation to keep you from prayer. What is covered by the blood is gone. What is forgiven is forgiven. Move forward! And keep short accounts. Receive forgiveness throughout the day, and ask Him to fill you afresh with His presence and you will enjoy the abiding fellowship of the Lord on a whole new level.
Jesus, when teaching the disciples about prayer in Matthew 6, speaks about the necessity of asking the Father for forgiveness. Before you pray, humble yourself, ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal areas of sin and then repent, receive forgiveness and cleansing and go forward in His grace. "God resists the proud but He gives much grace to the humble." (James 4:6) As we walk in the Light, with humility and sincerity of heart, He will meet us in prayer and He will answer!