“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Previously we have discussed how our relationship with God must be right if we expect God to hear our prayer and answer. This is in fulfillment of the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, & strength.”
Just as Jesus gave us the second greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” there is a second relationship that is crucial to having our prayers answered.
How is love for God and love for others connected?
Have a Forgiving Disposition
In the Lord’s Prayer we learned that if we expect to be forgiven we must also forgive others. This takes that one step further. Forgiving someone is one thing, but actually loving them is another thing entirely. But remember Jesus’ teaching about hate is that if we hate another person and speak badly about them, it is no better than actually murdering them.
Our Daily Life is the Test of Our Prayers
Usually when we pray we get in a certain frame of mind to come before God. This may be the only time of day when we think about God. However, even when we don’t think about God, He thinks about us and sees us at all times. Our lives need to be a reflection of God’s love. This is especially true with how you deal with other people. Murray writes, “My prayer is not answered by God as a result of what I try to be when praying, but because of what I am when I’m not praying.”
Does your life match your prayers?
Is the way you live your life affect the way God answers your prayers?
In Life Everything Depends on Love
Love sums up everything about relationships. If we are always loving, we will have no problem being forgiving. Our relationship with God will not suffer because our relationships with people will always be in love.
The Church stands on two pillars, Prayer & Love. Without one or the other, the church will not stand. We cannot love the way God loves unless we ask God to enable us to do so. On the other side, our prayers may go unanswered if we harbor resentment towards others and are unloving.
This sounds like circular logic and you may ask how anyone can be loving or have their prayers answered. God doesn’t have a sign that says “you must be this loving to expect your prayers to be answered.” As we mature as Christians our love should naturally grow because we better understand God’s love for us. And as our love for God grows, so does our relationship with Him and consequently our prayer life.
The deeper our love grows, the greater our prayer life should become. The deeper our prayer life becomes, the greater our love should grow.
Adapted from With Christ in the School of Prayer