We may be frustrated with unanswered prayers or the lack of response from God. Yet at the same time, we may have wrong attitudes toward others. But what can be done to remove these obstacles to effective prayer?
HAVING THE MIND OF CHRIST
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:5-8).
The Bible instructs us to let the mind of Christ be worked into our nature. We are to be continually transformed into His image (Rom 12:2; 2Cor 3:18). This requires that our carnal, fleshly thoughts, attitudes and motives be continually changed and refined.
Paul wrote to the Galatian church about Christ being formed in them (Gal 4:19). This happens in several ways:
- When we receive Christ as our Savior, He enters into our life and begins to work His nature within us as we submit our will to His. This is a work He does within us as we abide in Him daily.
- He has given us the Scriptures to follow and obey. Every time we choose obedience and reject sin, we are becoming more like Christ!
- He has given us the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin (John 16:8; Rom 8:12-15) and to help empower us to choose righteousness.
What a glorious gift, to be made more and more into the image of our dear and loving Savior!
BECAUSE GOD LOVED US
Part of the work of transformation in our life is choosing to forgive those who have wronged us.
Jesus Christ as God saw the world in its sinful and rebellious state. He saw every wicked ruler, the destruction of centuries of wars, abortions, witchcraft and idolatry, false religions, child abuse, sexual immorality… all of sin and its consequences.
And yet, Jesus came into the world – not to condemn it, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16,17). He chose to take upon Himself the penalties for ALL the sin of mankind through the ages. What perfect love; what great forgiveness!
This is the same mind (attitude, thought, motive) we are to have toward others if we are Christ-followers (1 John 4:10,11). Jesus has forgiven us so much – how can we stand in judgment against another or not forgive them? God has shown us great mercy and compassion; He has extended His forgiveness to us while we were sinners and still His enemies (Rom 5:6,8,10). How can we do less toward others, even our own enemies?
How can we come to God in prayer and expect His loving answer, when we are not willing to love our brother or sister in Christ?
Take a few minutes and read Matthew 18:21-35. Look carefully at what Jesus taught His disciples about having unloving and unforgiving attitudes, and the severe consequences.
BE RECONCILED TO OTHERS
Jesus taught us just what to do with unforgiveness and strife, those obstacles to effective prayer: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt 5:23,24). “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also for-give you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25).