Bible Studies Devotional Sermons Words Of Encouragement By Deborah Hooper / last year Share Tweet Pin Share Matthew 6:9 After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. Nothing interferes with our relationship to God like sin and bitterness. Therefore, repentance and forgiveness are a regular, daily part of our prayer life. We need to clear the lines of communication each day so that unrepented sin and unforgiveness of others do not hinder the answers we need. It is important to forgive and repent at the same time in prayer because repentance and forgiveness are intertwined. Scripture teaches us that unless we forgive, we will not be forgiven. Unless we show mercy, we will not receive mercy. Since none of us can do without mercy, we must release any grudge against others that are in our heart before our repentance will be received. Connecting repentance and forgiveness makes both easier for us. How much easier it is to let go of bitterness towards others who do not perhaps deserve it, if I realize that by doing so, I gain mercy for myself.! How much easier it is to repent with the understanding that I am not alone in needing mercy. So each time I pray, I repent and forgive; releasing the mercy of God into my heart and into my life. Whether we repent and forgive first thing every day when we pray, or whether we repent and forgive as soon as we realize the need, we must be diligent to do both daily. The longer we wait to repent or forgive, the harder it becomes as our heart becomes harder. After a period of time, a root of bitterness springs up, blocking the Spirit of God and hindering our relationship with Him. If we find our prayers becoming ineffective, we need to check for unrepented sin and unforgiveness in our hearts. As we sit in God’s presence, we ask him to show us sin and bitterness in our heart which may not even be known to us. The Holy Spirit searches us and reveals what we need to repent and forgive. When we speak the words, grace is loosed and the lines of communication are reopened. Of course, there is more to repentance and forgiveness than merely reciting words. Just expressing the willingness does not immediately produce the results. Yet merely speaking the words releases grace to help us achieve true repentant and forgiving actions. It is not possible to pray for someone regularly and still harbor resentment. In the same way, regularly expressing sorrow over sin and meaning it prepares the soil of our character to be changed with the Fruit of the Spirit. If unforgiveness toward others costs us forgiveness for own our sins, the opposite is also true. When we show mercy, we receive mercy. Praying for those who seem to least deserve it causes God to view our inadequacies through the lens of grace. Repentance and forgiveness are like a daily spiritual bath. Through them, we cleanse our heart and maintain our souls as a vessel of the Holy Spirit. Through them, we claim intimacy with the Father. Rather than viewing repentance and forgiveness as unpleasant obligations, we should see them as the means to spiritual renewal and new life. I don’t want to miss my daily spiritual bath! EXERCISES 1. Ask God to reveal those things in your life which are a barrier between you and Him. Write these things in your journal and repent of them daily until you are delivered. 2. Ask God to reveal any person against whom you hold bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart. State your willingness to forgive and pray for these people regularly. 3. Be sure to revisit your journal pages and leave space to record your victories in repentance and forgiveness.