For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matt. 6:14-15 NIV
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Today’s devotion is a continuation of the first part of the devotion titled “Be Effective In Prayer_1”. In the last devotion, we considered 4 major points in the teaching of Jesus Christ on how to be effective in prayer which were:
1. Avoiding being hypocritical.
2. Avoiding babbling in prayer.
3. Hallowing the name of the Lord at all times.
4. Working towards the establishment of His kingdom amongst men.
Today, we shall continue to examine the remaining three facts in this teaching that is aimed at improving the prayer life of the Christian.
1. See Him as the sole provider of your daily bread – Matt. 6:11. Faith in the ability of God to provide for his people must be total. Provision by the Almighty God is not limited to bread only but is a provider of all good things and He will provide for all who trust in Him. Presenting a request in prayer to the Almighty God whilst simultaneously looking unto men for provision will make it impossible for such a person to receive from the Lord. It is true that God works through men but only those whom He has sent to play specific roles in the life of a Christian are to be identified and expected to deliver on prayer requests made to God, with no strings attached. God wants those who wait on Him to do so without doubt as a doubtful person will receive nothing from Him – Jms. 1:4-8. Trust Him to provide and He will not disappoint you.
2. See Him as one whose forgiveness must be sought at all times – Matt. 6:12. Infringing on the law of men will make one lose favour with men so that being the case with the Almighty God should not be unexpected. Asking for forgiveness implies that there is an acknowledgement of an infringement of a law, which is what sin is all about. Sin remains the creator of a barrier between God and man. For as long as this barrier exists, communication between such an individual and God is almost an impossibility. Whoever desires that his/her prayer request be heard by the Almighty God must ensure that this barrier does not exist and where it does, acts of prayer must be preceded by a plea for forgiveness. Failure in this regard will imply that the request will not even get to God, more so been granted. Christians must make use of every avenue available to them to remove this huge obstacle as there is no one that can claim perfection when sin is being focused on – Psa. 130:3. This removal can only come when the sins are forgiven, a grace that the Bible says will be granted, if indeed the personality making the request is a Christian. In this Christian state, such can plead the blood of Jesus Christ to access forgiveness. One who has not been forgiven can kiss being granted a prayer request, good-bye.
To be a Christian in this case will mean to accept the teaching of Jesus Christ with regards to forgiveness. He warned that irrespective of any claim to been born again, one who cannot forgive fellow men who have hurt him/her should not expect to receive forgiveness from the Almighty God – Matt. 6:12; 14-15. In fact, he places the receiving of forgiveness from God on nothing but forgiving fellow beings, Christians or not, by the individual.
Fulfil all the conditions required to receive forgiveness and the Almighty God will grant forgiveness to you. That way you will be on the path to communicating your requests effectively to the Almighty God.
3. See Him as the protection against the lure of evil – Matt. 6:13. Temptation is a desire in man created by the deceptive lure of Satan who gives the impression that the accepting to fulfil that suggested act of his has no negatives to consider. Most times, the suggested act if carried out impacts negatively on the relationship of the victim with the Almighty God. It is actually rooted in the spiritual manipulation abilities of man by Satan and can only be overcome with possession of spiritual ability to confront Satan. This ability is not available to the mortal man and so will always require the support of the Almighty God in countering and withstanding Satan. For the Christian, the Almighty God will be depended upon to provide such support but for one who is not, or one who has lost claim to being a Christian due to some reason or the other, God will not intervene in such occasions, thus opening up such a person to being successfully tempted by Satan. A Christian who is a victim of such acts of Satan will be in a fallen state, and will not be in a position to receive positive responses to requests made to the Almighty God in prayer, as such is already far from Him. The Christian must always seek the support of God to avoid these deceitful offers of Satan so as to remain in good stead to reach the Almighty God in prayer.
It is obvious from the above that the teaching of Jesus Christ on prayer which has since been called “The Lord’s Prayer”, is beyond just recitation. Every word and phrase must be applied to the life of the Christian for it to be effective. The essence of reciting it is to serve as a remembrance opportunity as mere reciting it is of no value.
The Christian today needs to be aware that anyone that has the ability to speak can string words together and pronounce them either, quietly or not so quietly, and either gently or in very animated manner, but that does not translate to praying effectively, as the request must get to the intended target for it to be effective. The only obstacle that should be on the path of prayer of the Christian should be either the non-readiness of the intended target of prayer, which in the case of the Christian, is the Almighty God, to grant the request or obstacles on the way of the delivery of the response to prayers – Dan. 10:13. Anything different will imply a failed prayer session. Take to the advise of our Lord Jesus Christ, and you will have no regrets as your prayer sessions will begin to be effective. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us, in making our prayer sessions effective in Jesus name. Amen.