Instructions for Prayer

We must forgive others when we pray ( Matt 6: 14–15). In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to forgive whenever we stand to pray. This is because we will be frequently hurt by people around us - just like we too are prone to hurting them. These could be family members, fellow students at school, colleagues and superiors at work, a fellow worshipper or minister at church, or any other stranger we may bump into on our way to work. The principle here is for us to give that which our heavenly Father has freely given us – forgive our debtors, just like we have been forgiven our own debts. This is one of the most challenging things for Christians to do and yet remains one of the most important keys to unlocking our deliverance from God. According the Merriam-Webster dictionary,  unforgiveness is defined as the lack of the will to forgive; the inability to forgive or make allowance for error or weakness. There is absolutely nothing good that comes from unforgiviness. Many of us have harboured grudges with people that have wounded us and in so doing, we have allowed the toxicity of unforgiveness to infiltrate our souls and if not dealt with, could adversely affect our physical health. Someone once said that unforgiveness is like an acid that erodes the container in which it is stored. Another one said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping that the person who wronged you dies. Unforgiveness is very dangerous to us because apart from negatively affecting our souls and bodies, it also acutely curtails our capacity to have healthy relationships and binds us in prisons of anger, resentment, fear and mistrust. The tragedy is that unforgiveness, normally targets our closest relationships and in so doing, usually causes collateral damage – for instance when this happens between spouses and remains unchecked, it usually ends in separation or divorce. We all know that it is the innocent children that are affected the most. Suffice it to say that unforgiveness is a result of selflishness – where the person withholding forgiveness is only interested in their own feelings without considering how this may affect others around them. From Scripture, we know that God did not wait for us to go to Him after we had sinned against Him, rather He made the first move in a bid to reconcile us with Himself. After doing so, He assigned to us the ministry of reconciliation so that we too can do the same with the people around us ( 2 Cor. 5:18-19). That is why in Mark 11: 25-26 (AMP), Jesus, teaches us to forgive others when we pray so that our heavenly father can forgive us too, given that we ourselves are not angels: Whenever you [g]stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others]. 26 [h][But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”] Notice that the Amplified Bible says that we should drop the issues we have with people or better still let them go – otherwise, they will become a hindrance to own forgiveness from God. In other words, we must forgive just like our heavenly Father has forgiven us. In writing to the Colossians, Apostle Paul admonishes them to make allowance for each other’s faults and to also willingly forgive each other, just like the Lord has done with them (Col 3:13). He also tells the church at Ephesus to, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another” just as God have forgiven them through Christ (Eph. 4:31-32). This message applies to all of us and so as we continue in prayer, it is of paramount importance that we forgive those who have hurt us – making sure that we let go of the issues at hand. Let us do away with bitterness, anger and hatred – and we will be surprised at how much the Lord will do for us. And of course, will also feel good in our spirits and bodies – some of us will experience physical and psychological healing – so let’s do it!  Reuben Chief Guma

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