The combination of these two verses always stands out to me. What Jesus is saying in this section about prayer is powerful and challenging on its own. Still, it’s always interesting to me that Jesus goes straight into forgiveness. I can visualize myself in what Jesus is pointing to here; so often, I “stand praying” and then am quickly interrupted in my mind with a thought of something I’m holding against someone else. Before I know it, my mind is completely focused on that person or situation, and I’ve completely forgotten that I started out in prayer. Even more so, I know that when I refuse to forgive someone else, it’s like a brick that I put down in my heart against God. If I’m not careful, those bricks build up into a wall that can build into a stronghold of bitterness and resentment over time. On the other hand, forgiveness makes us free to receive AND give away the grace that God has readily made available to us. In your next devotional time, ask God to show you if there’s anything you hold against anyone and if so, forgive them! Whether they ever know it or not. This way, we can live more free today than we even were yesterday.
“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.”