The bond between Christ and His followers is such that disharmony anywhere breaks down the free flow of God’s blessing.
It has been said that the relationship between the believer and Christ is no better than the believer’s relationship with other believers. If we expect Christ to listen to us, we must listen to what He taught.
Not only is faith required for effective prayer (Mark 11:23), but all relationships must be healed by forgiveness—at least on our part—if we want our prayers to be heard. In Jesus’s model prayer (Matt 6:9–13), the fifth element is to “forgive men their trespasses” (6:14-15).
“Whenever you stand praying” refers, perhaps, to leading prayer in a public setting. What matters in prayer is our attitude of heart and mind and our conformity to His word. They knew the warning of the psalmist: “If I had harbored sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Ps 66:18NET).
If we expect God to hear us when we pray, we must have the same attitude He has toward forgiving others. Paul wrote in his Letter to the Ephesians, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:32). Later he wrote, “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col 3:13).
Does it matter to us if God listens to our prayers? Are we more interested in stewing over an offense against us than to have God’s forgiving heart and mind bonding us in communion with Him?
If we are mentally reviewing our grudges, dislikes, resentments, or bitterness toward another person for any cause, then the Lord is not listening to our prayers. When Jesus said, “if you have anything against anyone,” He meant we are not allowed to harbor any resentment or grudge.
There must be an immediate and constant spirit of forgiveness toward everyone who offends us, lest we are sinning far worse than they by not forgiving. How important is it to you that God hears you? Can you forgive anything? Think what Christ did on the cross.
“Dear God, make me aware of any offense I may have caused another so I may confess it and earn his forgiveness before coming to You with my petitions.”
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