HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
KEY FOUR: FORGIVE OTHERS
Another vital key to answered prayer is our willingness to truly forgive others. Frankly, our loving Father in heaven simply does not hear those who come to Him in a spirit of revenge, bitterness or hatred. Immediately after giving us the “Lord’s Prayer”—the outline prayer describing the proper basic approach to talking with God—Jesus went on to instruct His followers:
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14–15).
To sulk, to brood, to conjure up evil thoughts about another person—or to attribute improper motives to someone who has upset you—is not just wrong; it is counterproductive. It only breeds more trouble and more discontent. Such an attitude will escalate a situation, not resolve it.
How did the Apostle Paul advise us to treat our enemies?
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17–21).
The prophet Isaiah was inspired to warn us not to come into God’s presence while oppressing others, accusing others or being wrapped up in serving only the self. He wrote:
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:” (Isaiah 58:9–10).
Jesus gives us the same admonition:
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matthew 5:23–24).
So we need to come to God in a humble, repentant and forgiving attitude. Otherwise, as Jesus said, God will not forgive us! A spirit of humility and mercy is a key element in whether or not God will hear us as we pray. His inspired Word tells us:
“But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2).