When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses – Mark 11:25

The only way any prayer is ever heard is through the righteous imputation and intercession of Jesus Christ. Yet it is Jesus who here reminds us that successful prayers are accompanied by holy lives.

If you have anything against any one, Jesus says, forgive them from your heart before you seek to pray to your heavenly Father. Do not presume to ask for a forgiveness that you are not yourself willing to grant others.

We garner this insightful view of prayer, then, from Jesus himself — your prayer life is both indestructible and delicate, it is both independent of your actions and yet influenced by the decisions you make.

You see, the access we have to God through Jesus Christ is based entirely on his goodness, not your own. For this reason, you can always pray to God, come boldly to God, when you are clinging to the perfect and sufficient work of Christ on your behalf.

On the other hand, scripture is very clear that our way of life—what we do and fail to do—will greatly influence our communion with God. Peter admonishes husbands to honor and cherish their wives “that your prayers be not hindered” (1Peter 3:7). Jesus warns not to even bother praying if we are harboring resentment or bitterness or unforgiveness in our hearts.

Today, then, dear believer, go boldly in Christ’s name to the throne of grace, and freely love and forgive others so that your prayers are not hindered.