90 Days of Prayer – Day Seventeen
Using Faith to Forgive
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Many of us read this passage with the natural tendency to focus on the fact that through faith God will grant us what we ask for. Although this is true, we tend to overlook verse 25 where our faith is applied to forgiveness as well. Forgiveness is the key to keeping genuine faith alive and active in our life.
Just as faith must come from the heart, so to the grace to forgive. “Forgive” in verse 25 is in the present active tense; showing us that always believing God follows always forgiving others. Mark 11:22 which literally reads “Have the faith of God” (present active tense), presupposes having the forgiveness of God (verse 25) also present active tense.
This means we are able to be “always believing” to the extent that we are “always forgiving.” Jesus is teaching a lifestyle of faith in the power of God’s forgiveness. We learn from verse 25, when we are praying, if we’re hold anything against anyone, we’re to forgive them, so that our Father in heaven may forgive us our sins. This is a reminder that we all have our own sins that God always forgives, and we would be hypocrites not to forgive others as we’ve been forgiven.
Forgive As You’ve Been Forgiven
We know from Galatians 5:6 that faith expresses itself through love. It stands to reason that if we desire to live by faith we must walk in love, and to walk in love we must walk in forgiveness as well. Love and forgiveness go hand in hand as does love and faith. Paul instructed the Ephesian believers to “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:32. Forgiveness is vital to faith and practice in following Christ. Forgiving others keeps animosity and resentment from taking hold of our heart. Forgiveness keeps our conscience clean, and the lines of communication between God and ourselves clear.
When we sin we ask forgiveness of God, not because we’ve become separated from Him, which cannot happen because Christ has already reconciled us to Him, but, because we’ve offended Him. That offense will always be weighing on our conscience when we are together with God, until we confess and ask God to forgive us (which we already know He has). Our friendship with Him will continue to have an awkward uneasiness between us until our conscience is free of the offense.
Genuine Faith Addresses The Issue
How often have we held on to unspoken resentment against others? While we’re together smiling and being cordial to each other, we’re both aware of the proverbial two ton elephant in the room that neither of us wants to address. Genuine faith expressing itself through love will always address it, so that forgiveness can flow and the healthy relationship restored.
Knowing that our asking in faith must be specific, and free of any doubt in our heart; let us be very specific in asking for forgiveness for ourselves, for others, and from others. Using our faith to clear away all things that can hinder our relationship with God and people, will cause us to have the assurance that what we have asked for will be ours.
We the Church should begin using our faith to command the mountains of offense and unforgiveness to be removed from our relationships. We should begin to call on God for the grace to forgive and release those offenses, and when we’re praying, believe that we have have received what we’ve asked. This being done together as God’s family, is the kind of faith that will move mountains, both within the Church and in society!
Practice Faith In Forgiveness
I challenge you to practice the faith building habit of forgiveness as a part of your daily time alone with God. Allow Christ’s love within you to be expressed through you in all your relationships with others as an act of worship toward God. Think, pray, speak, and act on this kind of forgiveness causing health to come into all your relationships. Be diligent, Be filled with faith and love, Be forgiving, and Be Encouraged! -JSP