40 Days of PRAYER”

Dr Jim Brown's TruNorth Devotional
40 Days of PRAYER
Day 23 | FORGIVENESS REQUIRED | Mark 11:25-26

Mark 11:25-26
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you for your offenses. [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your offenses.]

Jesus continues his teaching around the withered fig tree by discussing the place of forgiveness in our lives related to prayer.  “If you have anything against anyone” seems to be an all-inclusive statement that includes wrongs done to us by someone as well as simple dislikes (of another person).  Our duty – as Followers of Jesus – is to forgive.  Given the context of these statements, the preceding verses (see yesterday’s devotional) indicate that successful prayer also includes a requirement for forgiveness as well as faith.

On a quick read, one might think: “What’s the connection?  Why do I need to forgive someone who’s done me wrong as a prerequisite to asking God for something I need or even intercession for someone else in pain?  And after all, I’m ticked at that person, really hurt, and I don’t know if I can forgive them.”

First, let me say that He’s God, and we’re not. And as God, His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.  Thus, it may or may not make sense to us that refusing to forgive or holding on to bitterness can also (like lack of faith) hinder our prayers, but Jesus said it, so it must be so.

Consider this: I like using the term “Followers of Jesus” instead of the more common “Christian” for people who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior.  The reason?  Upon coming to Christ and being filled with God the Holy Spirit, His goal (the Spirit’s) is to make us more and more like Jesus.  And Jesus forgave people.

Prayer: LORD God, I do want to be more like Your Son Jesus.  Help me to forgive – even if I can’t forget – and to draw closer to you and have a better prayer life in the process.  Amen.