Summary: Jesus is no foreigner to prayer. He knows it intimately and He also knows that a heart that is unforgiving will make prayer ineffective and dead. The bondage of unforgiveness is something that will weigh us down so much that our prayers will be fruitles
Prayer’s Missing Link
Griffith Baptist Church – 12/30/07
Text: Matthew 6:9-15
Key Text: Matthew 6:14-15
When Narvaez, the Spanish patriot, lay dying, his father-confessor asked him whether he had forgiven all his enemies. Narvaez looked astonished and said, “Father, I have no enemies, I have shot them all.”
Here we have what is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer.”
It is actually a model prayer and is found in Luke 11:1-4 as well.
Here we have the basic elements of prayer taught to us.
But there is an added element found here that is not found in the Luke text and this is found in the post-prayer instruction in verses 14-15.
This instruction ties back to verse 12.
Here is the missing key, or link, to a vibrant and successful prayer life.
But, why do so many take the philosophy found on a button in a tourist shop: to err is human, to forgive is out of the question.
What do you do with offenses?
Do you think they have any bearing at all on your prayer life or your spiritual life in general?
Do not be misled. God has much to say about this subject and it is important that we hear Him.
Is everybody listening? Good.
In his book. LEE: THE LAST YEARS, Charles Bracelen Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss.
After a brief silence, Lee said, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.” It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain, let bitterness take root and poison the rest of our life. - Michael Williams
There are four (4) reasons why a forgiving spirit is so important:
1. Unforgiveness is Sin
A. When we do not forgive, it is a form of judgmentalism (Matt. 7:1) (who is worthy?)
B. Hatred and bitterness often accompany unforgiveness
C. Matthew 18:21-35 illustrates this point
i. First servant had a debt of millions of dollars ($10,000,000)
ii. Second servant had a debt of around $10-$20.
iii. The king forgave the first servant for the greater debt he couldn’t pay
iv. The first servant did not forgive the second servant for a very small and inconsequential amount of money
v. The first servant ended up paying a heavy price for lack of forgiveness
D. Three lessons to be learned from Matthew 18:21-35:
i. Someone else’s offenses to you will never be as great as your sins to God
ii. God set the standard for forgiveness you are to follow
iii. You are accountable to God for every offense done to you that remains unforgiven
2. Our Prayers Are Hindered By Unforgiveness
A. Mark 11:25-26 – 25And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
B. God sees the heart tainted with a sinful spirit:
i. Hatred, hurt, anger, bitterness, pride, resentment, selfishness, or any emotional element which promotes and maintains a spirit of unforgiveness
ii. And we know that If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psalms 66:18)
C. This interrupts the flow of prayer to God.
3. Our Relationship With Our Heavenly Father is Hurt By Unforgiveness
A. When things aren’t right between you and another Christian, things aren’t right between you and God.
B. Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Col. 3:13)
i. A command unobeyed is sin
ii. The highest honor given to God is not only to obey Him but to imitate His virtue.
iii. Forgiveness falls in this area
4. Our Relationship With Others is Harmed By Unforgiveness
A. When we allow unforgiveness to continue relationship will be damaged:
i. That offense will always be in our minds even as we face the other person
ii. There will always be tension
iii. You will either grow cold to that person or become bitter. Bitter most likely.
B. Bitterness defiles us - Hebrews 12:15 – Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
C. Being at peace is a big issue with God
i. Peaceful coexistence is a requirement for the body of Christ (getting along in love)