Prayer Barriers: Unforgiveness

Daily Devotion | Day 294

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25-26, NKJV).

Yesterday, we dealt with Mark 11:24. Today, we’ll look at the next two verses because what Jesus said in verses 25-26 is related to His preceding teaching on prayer (verses 20-24). God willing, in the next few days (starting today), we will identify what can be called “prayer barriers.” The Bible talks about things that can block our prayer from being answered. Our purpose is to identify these things and learn how to overcome them. Many Christians get frustrated or even give up because they never seem to make a headway when they pray for something. 

 Before we continue, let’s make one thing clear: When our prayer is not answered, it does not always mean that we did something wrong. At times, God will choose not to do what we’re asking for different reasons, for example, to protect us from (greater) danger. A case in point is found in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. This is an exception, but it’s important to keep it in mind. That said, before you assume that your situation is similar to Paul’s situation, first make sure you’ve rule out all other possibilities. What we’re going to study in the next few days is intended to help us do just that. The first prayer barrier on our list is unforgiveness. Take another look at today’s passage.

Jesus says, “whenever you stand prayingif you have anything against anyone, forgive him.” If you forgive, the Father also will forgive you. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you. This is Jesus’ teaching, not mine. You will come across Christians (including pastors, evangelists and theologians) who will try to spin what Jesus said to make it mean something other than what He said. Please be careful. Anyone who tries to diminish (or trivialize) the force of what Jesus said is not helping you. If there’s one person whose words you must take seriously, it is Jesus.

Forgiveness is dear to the heart of Jesus and the Father. If you remain in a state of unforgiveness, you’re not in fellowship with Jesus or the Father or the Holy Spirit. Some mistakenly assume that because they’re born again (justified, forgiven and sanctified), God’s forgiveness will remain regardless of how they treat others. Nothing could be further from the truth (Please read “For further study” at the end of today’s message). Jesus was not joking or lying when He spoke those words about unforgiveness.

If the Father refuses to forgive those who will not forgive, it means He does not answer their prayer. In other words, unforgiveness blocks prayer from being answered. Fortunately, Jesus has revealed to us what we need to do. He says, when we stand in prayer, if we have anything against anyone, we should forgive the person. This means when you begin to pray, take a moment to examine yourself.

If you know in your heart that you have something against this person or that person, pray for them. Open your heart to God about it. Don’t suppress your feelings about it. God knows about it, so there’s no point pretending you don’t feel anything. If you feel pain or grief, don’t block the feeling. Let it surface while you’re still in God’s presence. If it makes you cry, so be it. God loves it when you’re transparent with Him. While in His presence, tell Him you forgive those who have offended you (I recommend you mention their names, so it feels personal and real). Then, ask the Father to forgive them and bless them.

When you’re done, continue with whatever you want to say in prayer. Satan will give you all the reasons why you shouldn’t (or can’t) forgive. Don’t listen to him. Just do what you know pleases your Father, even if your emotions are pulling you in the opposite direction. If you’re tempted a hundred times to hold something against those you’ve already forgiven, reiterate your forgiveness a hundred times. Love will prevail.

Now that you have identified unforgiveness as a prayer-barrier, eliminate it with the power of love. You can do all things through the Father who strengthens you. Amen.

For further studyMatthew 18:21-35

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s