Beth Moore says, “Envision your heart like a pitcher…Praying about the people we need to forgive is the means by which we tip that pitcher heavenward and slowly begin to pour our negative feelings and frustrations out to God. As we pour out, a wonderful thing happens: we make room for God to pour in. Our omniscient God knows that a heart heals when a heart changes. Until we make room for fresh contents that change our hearts, we will never be healed from the injury and subsequent feelings of unforgiveness.”
It is important to pray “for” those whom we need to forgive. Most of us are already aware that we need to do this; however, we often stubbornly hang onto our “right” not to. If we are to be like Christ, we relinquish our “rights” and take on humility, being obedient to the Lord, who says in Mark 11:25, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
If unforgiveness has been a hindrance to your prayer life in the past, remember that Satan will attack you in this area again – until your victory is firmly established in the strength of Christ Jesus. “If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:7-11).
Father, sometimes it just feels good to be angry with someone who has hurt me. I feel justified about my pain and struggle to let go of my negative feelings towards whoever has caused them. Remind me that I must die to my self and what my self wants in the flesh so that I can live as Christ, who took on the nature of a servant. Help me to be slow to anger and quick to forgive as You are so that Satan will not outwit me! Keep my heart aware of his attempts to cause me to fall into the trap that is the sin of unforgiveness.
–Adapted from the article, “The Prayer of Forgiveness” by Kim Butts, co-author of Pray Like the King: Lessons from the Prayers of Israel’s Kings. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for his love for children who often are full of insight (Mk.10:14-16). Thank God that he teaches you to have a childlike faith (Mt.11:25). Confess how often you make things so complicated and act so independently of him. Commit yourself to giving out the simple gospel message, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Ask God to help you recognize every opportunity to have a childlike faith, and not to be childish (Mt. 18:4).
Pray that Christians all over the world may “tell the good news” in a childlike way and be ready to welcome all who respond as little children, eager to know more.
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Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2014 is published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries.