“I TELL YOU, YOU CAN PRAY FOR ANYTHING, AND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU’VE RECEIVED IT, IT WILL BE YOURS. BUT WHEN YOU ARE PRAYING, FIRST FORGIVE ANYONE YOU ARE HOLDING A GRUDGE AGAINST, SO THAT YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN WILL FORGIVE YOUR SINS, TOO.“
One of Satan’s greatest strategies to keep us in bondage and to make our prayers ineffective is to trap us in unforgiveness. In Ephesians 6 we read that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” When we understand that our struggle is not against the people or situations that are hurting us, but that we have an enemy of our soul looking for an opportunity to take up space in our thoughts and lives (Ephesians 4:26-27), it helps us see our situations with a new perspective.
When unforgiveness takes root in our hearts, it gives the enemy an open door to trap us in bitterness, to steal our joy, and even to make us sick. Even worse than that, allowing unforgiveness to remain in our lives hinders our connection and intimacy with God. You see, God Himself saw His own perfect Son tortured and killed in order for us to receive forgiveness of our sins even before we ever asked for it.
Just as we have received undeserved forgiveness, we should also release it (Ephesians 4:32). When we refuse to forgive, God withholds His forgiveness to us and our prayers are hindered (1 Peter 3:7). Today as you pray, ask God to search your heart and reveal if there is any unforgiveness that you are holding on to. Then be still for a while to listen. Ask Him for the courage you need to forgive as things come to mind.
“God, show me if there is any unforgiveness or bitterness in my heart and help me to release it all to You. Thank You for forgiving me of all my sins so that I could walk in freedom and intimacy with You!”