READ : Matthew 6:14-15
. . . but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (v. 15)
Prayer is a gift. One-to-one communication with the Creator of the universe, the one who ordained all our days, the one who numbers the hairs on our head—think of the privilege! We know that Jesus paid the price for this great gift by dying on the cross and doing away with any kind of separation between us and God (Luke 23:45).
One of the most important aspects of prayer is to enter into communion with God with a pure heart. This is difficult, as we are sinful people who fall far short of his glory (Rom. 3:23). Thankfully, we serve a forgiving God who hears our confession and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
When we pray, we must realize God knows our hearts better than we do. We may utter words of adoration and praise, but when our hearts are troubled by bitterness and anger we are not prepared to fully participate, to quiet ourselves before God in anticipation of his blessing, peace, and guidance.
Above all, we must pay attention to what Scripture tells us about prayer and forgiveness. God expects us to extend grace to others just as we long for his grace to us. Mark 11:25 makes clear God’s plan, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
God of grace, help me know the full joy of communion through forgiveness.