“Jesus answered, ‘Have faith in God. Whoever… does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him… Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:22-25
“Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him… As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’” Acts 7:54-60
Prayer is a privilege for the believer in so many aspects. The Lord’s promises of what we can access through prayer astound even young believers. They flow from His vast well of goodness and grace, with the end that our faith would grow. His parameters for prayer prepare in us the proper mindset for coming to Him in the first place.
We often think of prayer as a time when we lay out our needs and ask for God’s help, favor, or blessing on what we have already planned. Our only prerequisite is a ready list. But Jesus gives the conditions of faith and forgiveness to help us realize the very foundation on which we are able to approach him. We must believe in the rent veil, the access into the Holy of holies Jesus made available to us at His death. This is faith in our Savior and very salvation. Coming in faith is coming humbly, and gratefully, for the reconciliation we have in Christ. (Matthew 27:50-51; John 14:6)
With that as a backdrop, we must come having forgiven others. We cannot approach the cross if we have not applied the cross to our own relationships and situations. A lack of forgiveness renders our communication soiled and ineffective. We come not just to get, but to acknowledge with praise and gratitude that we have been forgiven much. This reality shapes and orders our reason, our motivation, and our requests.
When we come in faith, forgiven and having forgiven, there is no limit to the power and effectiveness of our prayer. We approach the throne of grace with confidence because of Jesus- who we know Him to be and what we know He has done on our behalf. He teaches us how to pray, and we learn to desire what He desires and align with His will. (Luke 11:1-4; Hebrews 4:14-16; James 5:15-18)
What needs changing about the attitude with which we approach God in prayer? How committed are we to growing in faith and the willingness to extend grace as Jesus has? How will we boldly pray for ourselves and others today? (Ephesians 1:16-19)
Father, purify me that my prayers tap into Your greatness and grace, for the furtherance of Your purposes on earth and in heaven.