Dear father, here we are to worship You, to lift up our holy hands before Your throne to obtain mercy from You. O! Lord, we pray that our prayers this day will come to You as sweet smelling sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You. We are grateful to You alone Who is worthy of our praise; rebuke every reproach in the lives of your children who confidently seek You. Remember your promises unto us and grant us peace in our days, Amen!
The aspect of prayer we will be considering today is perhaps the most difficult of all to deal with—“Forgiveness”. I believe this is keeping more people from having power with God than any other thing—they are not willing to cultivate the spirit of forgiveness. If we allow the root of bitterness to spring up in our hearts against some one, our prayer will not be answered. It may not be an easy thing to live in sweet fellowship with all those with whom we come in contact; but that is what the grace of God is given to us for.
Now let us come to the part I want to dwell upon: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” This is the only part of the prayer that Christ explained.
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Until we forgive those that trespasses against us than we can lift up our heart with our hands unto God:
“Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” Lamentations 3:41
The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for such proud beings as we are. If God gave us favours without constraining us to pray for them we should never know how poor we are, but a true prayer is an inventory of wants, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty. While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness.
The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty in self and constantly depending upon the Lord for supplies; to be always poor in self and rich in Jesus; weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits; and hence the use of prayer, because, while it adores God, it lays the creature where it should be, in the very dust.
Prayer is in itself, apart from the answer which it brings, a great benefit to the Christian. As the runner gains strength for the race by daily exercise, so for the great race of life we acquire energy by the hallowed labour of prayer. Prayer plumes the wings of God’s young eaglets, that they may learn to mount above the clouds. Prayer girds the loins of God’s warriors, and sends them forth to combat with their sinews braced and their muscles firm.
An earnest pleader cometh out of his closet, even as the sun ariseth from the chambers of the east, rejoicing like a strong man to run his race.
Prayer is that uplifted hand of Moses which routs the Amalekites more than the sword of Joshua; it is the arrow shot from the chamber of the prophet foreboding defeat to the Syrians. Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God.
We know not what prayer cannot do! We thank thee, great God, for the mercy-seat, a choice proof of thy marvellous lovingkindness. Help us to use it aright throughout this day and other days ahead!
Amen am sure someone is adding, praise God. Beloved, there is nothing more powerful than the sword of prayer, it opens the gate brass and then the children of the Most High will have access to the heaven. Alleluia! Child of God, have you encountered the promises of God recently? Let us consider the one below:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2Chron. 7:14
Called by the name of the Lord, we are nevertheless erring men and women. What a mercy it is that our God is ready to forgive! Whenever we sin let us hasten to the mercy-seat of our God, seeking pardon.
We are to humble ourselves. Should we not be humbled by the fact that after receiving so much love we yet transgress? O Lord, we bow before thee in the dust, and own our grievous ingratitude. Oh, the infamy of sin! Oh, the sevenfold infamy of it in persons so favored as we have been!
Next, we are to pray for mercy, for cleansing, for deliverance from the power of sin. O Lord, hear us even now, and shut not out our cry.
In this prayer we are to seek the Lord’s face. He has left us because of our faults, and we must entreat Him to return. O Lord, look on us in thy Son Jesus, and smile upon thy servants.
With this must go our own turning from evil, God cannot turn to us unless we turn from sin.
Then comes the triple promise of hearing, pardon, and healing. Our Father, grant us these at once for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake.
Back on “forgiveness”, notice that when you go into the door of God’s kingdom, you go in through the door of forgiveness. I never knew of a man getting a blessing in his own soul, if he was not willing to forgive others. If we are unwilling to forgive others, God cannot forgive us. I do not know how language could be more plain than it is in these words of our Lord.
I firmly believe a great many prayers are not answered because we are not willing to forgive someone. Let your mind go back over the past, and through the circle of your acquaintance; are there any against whom you are cherishing hard feelings? Is there any root of bitterness springing up against someone who has perhaps injured you? It may be that for months or years you have been nursing this unforgiving spirit; how can you ask God to forgive you?
If I am not willing to forgive those who may have committed some single offence against me, what a mean, contemptible thing it would be for me to ask God to forgive the ten thousand sins of which I have been guilty! Food for thought, I suppose!
Father, help us to forgive all those who trespass against us, give us the Holy Spirit to help us where it is humanly difficult for us in Jesus name I pray. Amen!
Beloved, let us go into our closet and make a list of those we need to forgive, ask for grace to forgive them. You will experience newness of life and heaven will open upon you. Glory!
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Evang. Ifeoma Ohondu