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 11:25 ESV)
In prayer, many of us tend to simply rattle off a list of things we have done wrong for the day, or week, and ask God to forgive us for them. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but as this verse points out, there is something we should be doing before we ask God to forgive us of our multitude of sins. We are told to first forgive those we have something against. This is similar to Matthew 5:23-24.
When there is unforgiveness and bitterness, it causes sharp division within the church. Feelings are hurt, friendships are severed, or even churches split because of unforgiven wrongs. It might start out small and seem to be nothing, but soon it grows into wrath, malice, bitterness, anger, and slander toward those whom we haven’t forgiven (Ephesians 4:31). Make it a part of your daily prayers to think of any person that might have sinned against you and made you angry, sad or hurt and forgive them. For many of us, this may happen multiple times throughout the day, and we neglect to first forgive others in prayer before we ask to be forgiven ourselves.
Who has recently or in the past wronged you that you need to forgive? Take time today to ask God to help you in your journey towards grace and forgiveness with others.