Thursday, April 21, 2011

Forgiveness and Prayer II

lifewords 4.21.11 Forgiveness and prayer II

It is a privilege to pray for you today !  Yesterday's lifewords focused on  the necessity of  receiving forgiveness as we  pray. Equally important in prayer, is forgiving others.  


 In Matthew 6, Jesus  is teaching his disciples how to pray.  He concludes the sentence about asking for forgiveness with "as we also forgive others". In Mark 11:25 Jesus says "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that you Father also who is in Heaven may forgive you your transgressions." This is a clear instruction regarding prayer, yet so many believers miss this.


When Peter asked Jesus how much do we have to keep forgiving, Jesus responded, " I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."  He then tells the account of the slave who was forgiven much, but refused to forgive his fellow slave. Because of his hardened heart and unwillingness to forgive, the great grace and forgiveness he previously received was replaced with being handed over to the torturers until He paid back everything. Then, these sobering words, "So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."  Our obedience to forgive others is huge with God.   


For our praying to be effective, we must intentionally forgive all who have hurt us, offended us, betrayed us, wounded us.  We have been forgiven much, we must extend forgiveness freely. As you go about your day and have an opportunity to be offended or hurt, forgive instead! When it is difficult, forgive by faith. You don't have to feel it.  Do it out of obedience.  Forgive the person, whether or not they deserve it or ask for it.   Bring that hurt in your heart to the altar. As you obey in forgiving, the precious healing balm of our Lord will take the sting out of that wound. Practice a lifestyle of forgiving others and you will be so free! Your prayer life will be so powerful. Don't allow unforgiveness to take residence in your heart and become a root of bitterness that will spring up to defile you and those around you.   Practice forgiveness every day. Make up your mind you will not be offended. Ask the Lord to help you.


Matthew 6;14 is sobering and powerful. Jesus speaking: "For if you forgive men their transgressions your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men then your Father will not forgive your transgressions."  Paul exhorts in Romans 12:14 that we are to "bless those who persecute us....never pay back evil for evil...and as far as it depends on us to be at peace with all men.  We are to not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  

Receiving and extending forgiveness is a prerequisite to effective praying. Learn to do both regularly and freely. You are His beloved forgiven one! amy



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