Praying with an Angry Heart
by Ron Susek
©Golden Quill Publications
I certainly don't know all that was behind the broadcaster's thought when he said that one cannot pray for someone while angry at them but consider this perspective.
God looks upon our hearts more than He listens to our words. Nothing produces answers to prayer more than a heart rightly related to God. Jesus said, "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask what you will and it will be done" (John 15:4).
We all have passing moments of anger toward people over something they said or didn't say, did or didn't do. Life will never ru n short of reasons to be angry.
We must not, however, permit anger to rule our hearts otherwise we deify ourselves with the right to judge. Having reasons for anger does not give us rights to anger. Anger appears as a friend then destroys like an enemy.
Prayers lifted from an angry heart are limited by our perceptions, which of course rarely reveal the whole story. Even if the other person is a full-blooded culprit, anger will not win the day for us. The command of our Lord is to love . . . even an enemy.
To do so, we must seek God to give us the height, depth, length and width of his love toward the violator (Ephesians 3:17-19). Such love does not absolve an enemy from divine rebuke, but it frees us from usurping God's right to judge.
The ways of God run contrary to all that is natural to us. But following God's example of mercy and love is the only way to be free and to gain heaven's favor.
Consider this: Where would we be if our intercessor-Jesus-allowed anything but love to prevail as He intercedes for us? He has endless reasons to be angry with us every day. Here is a short list:
1) Who seeks God with all of his or her heart, soul, mind and strength?
2) Who loves God wholeheartedly?
3) Who seeks first God's kingdom and righteousness to the neglect of personal desires?
4) Who gives to others as we want God to give to us?
5) Who patiently trusts God's wisdom when calamity befalls?
6) Who delights in being despised and rejected by people for the sake of Christ?
7) Who genuinely loves cantankerous people to the point of sacrificing for them?
8) Who loves the entire body of Christ without discrimination or limitation?
The point is obvious, isn't it? Jesus has numerous reasons to be angry with us, yet his love is steadfast. Why? Because it is rooted in his character and not our conduct. And Paul instructed the Philippian church to let this mind of Christ be in them . . . and in us (Philippians 2:5).
Thus, the condition of our hearts is critical when addressing God. Love makes us one with the Father and that opens limitless potential in prayer.
Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University has said, we have so deified our opinions that we inadvertently become God's advisors rather than his servants. Then we wonder why our prayers are often ineffective.
Remember, loving someone doesn't mean approval of their wrongful behavior. It means you want God's heart toward the person so that your prayers are not hindered.
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