Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Faith and Forgiveness

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for (absolutely) anything (and everything, ranging from small to large), and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge (anger) against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins (transgressions, wrongdoing, trespasses), too.” Mark 11:22-25 (NLT).

Here, Jesus gives two additional teachings on prayer:  faith and forgiveness. First, Jesus tells us that we will receive what we ask for (see Matthew 7:7) if we pray with the complete faith in God. The second condition for answered prayer is forgiveness. Even though prayer is a most powerful resource, our prayers become ineffective and powerless when we hold a grudge, bitterness or hatred toward others (Matthew 6:13-14; Matthew 7:7; Matthew 17:20; Matthew 18:19; Luke 11:9; Luke 17:6). We must love and forgive (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-32; 1 Corinthians 13). Jesus teaches us that only when we genuinely and unconditionally forgive others can our most important prayer, that God forgive us, be answered (Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 6:12, 14-15; Luke 6:37; Luke 7:41-43, 47; Luke 11:4; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). Jesus teaches that if we refuse to forgive others, God will not forgive our sins and trespasses (see Matthews 6:15).

Even more, Jesus teaches that God in His omnipotence can do anything! All things are possible if you have wholehearted faith in God (Mark 9:23). God answer our prayers because of our complete faith, dependence and trust in Him as God and not positive mental thinking or attitude. Regardless of an enormous mountain, everything yields before the simple faith of God’s people. Other conditions to prayer must be met too for answered prayer: (1) you must also be a believer of Jesus Christ to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 20:19-21) and (2) praying for God’s will, purposes and desires and not our selfish, evil desires and interests (Mark 14:36).

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