Connection!

Devotions for Every Day Life

The Stumbling Block of Unforgiveness

Scripture is very clear that sin is a hindrance to answered prayer. Isaiah 59:2 states, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” In Psalm 66:18 we read, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened…”

One of the most pervasive, tenacious sins in the Christian culture today is unforgiveness. It is disobedience to Christ, and it renders our prayers ineffective and powerless. Many times, an unforgiving spirit comes from a heart filled with pride. We often feel justified in our unforgiveness because of the wrong done to us. Or, the sin against us was so grievous in our own mind and heart that we cannot possibly forgive.

Probably the most common stumbling block in this area is when we say that we have forgiven someone outwardly, while still harboring the resentment or anger in our hearts. Jesus effectively illustrates God’s viewpoint on this matter in Matthew 18:23-35 when the king’s servant, who had been forgiven his debt, turned around and refused to forgive the debt of a fellow servant. The king turned his anger towards the man, threw him in jail and ordered him to pay back all that he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

If you are struggling with your prayer life, could an unforgiving spirit be one area that is keeping you from effectively touching the heart of God with your prayers? From time to time, each of us must take a deep look into the dark places of our hearts, asking the Lord to reveal our sin to us. We can find healing from the sin of unforgiveness in the Scripture, for when we truly understand how strongly God feels about forgiveness, we can seek to be more like Christ in our response to those we need to forgive.

Gracious Holy Spirit, teach my heart to be quick to forgive those who sin against me because that is what the Father commands! My flesh wants to hold onto the hurt I have experienced and to lash out or speak ill of those who have wronged me. Yet, Jesus demonstrated a better way. Whenever I am tempted to hold onto my unforgiveness, please take my heart to the cross where I can see the Lord forgiving those who condemned Him to death. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

–Adapted from the article, “The Prayer of Forgiveness” by Kim Butts, author of The Praying Family: Creative Ways to Pray Together.

Prayer Points

Praise God as the one who loves you like no one else can. Thank him for loving you “with an everlasting love,” drawing you to himself “with loving kindness” (Jer. 31:3). Confess times of presuming upon his love. Commit yourself to reflecting God’s love as his image-bearer. Ask him to love others through you, knowing that you can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13).

Pray that love for God’s ways will prompt you to love mercy (Mic. 6:8) in your societal involvements. Ask God to overcome hatred, violence, and prejudice in your area.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT: Prayer Initiative Sample Pack: The most effective way to grow an interest for prayer in a church is to do an all-church prayer initiative. That is where for a period of 30-40 days the entire church is praying on the same theme. PrayerShop Publishing produces 8 different prayer initiative guides. This product is a pack of one copy of each of the 8 guides. If you purchased each of these books separately you would pay $64.95. However, this sample pack is only $30! You save more than 50% off. If you are considering a prayer initiative, this pack allows you to review each one we have. Take advantage of the opportunity to give a gift to church leadership, small group or prayer team leaders. Or, break up this set and give one book to eight different people. Click here for more information!

**The dollars you spend on our resources help Harvest Prayer Ministries to train churches to become houses of prayer for all nations! Visit our online PrayerShop! You will find many valuable resources on prayer to help you, your family and your church!

Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2016 is published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries. Subscribe here.

Comments are closed.

-->