Friday, October 26, 2007

Authentic Prayer Requires a Forgiving Heart

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)
The prayer model Jesus gave His disciples said, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Now He gives the matter special attention. I believe this is because unwillingness to forgive is one of the most powerful hindrances to prayer. Eugene Peterson, in The Message, gives his commentary on this passage: “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others.”

Jesus also addresses unforgiveness in another place, in the same context where He teaches the disciples about mountain-moving prayer and faith:
Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:22-25)
As powerful and effective prayer and faith are, even to the moving of mountains, if we do not forgive others, we are not in a position for God to hear us. When we do not forgive others, we are still in unrepentance and not yet ready to receive forgiveness. But when we do forgive others, we are better able to hear the Father’s heart and pray in agreement with it. For His desire is to forgive, and when we pray in agreement with His will, we can know that He hears us, and knowing that He hears us, we can know that we will receive whatever we ask (1 John 5:14-15).

Authentic prayer requires a forgiving heart.



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.