Our God has a great sense of humor.  As I was praying this morning, I was asking God to give me the title and subject He wanted me to write about.  Almost immediately I heard in my mind, “Sorry, I can’t answer that!”  I thought, “Is He saying He won’t give me a subject, or was He speaking of something else?”  Suddenly I remembered that God had said those very words to me many years ago. I knew immediately “Sorry I can’t answer that!” covered a very important teaching in my life.

From that long-ago, loving correction, I received a most needed change in my life—my mind, emotions, and will. After God’s work within me, I never reverted back to those particular sins of my old nature.  I was brand-new and re-created in Christ’s image. By God’s instruction, I learned one of the most valuable lessons I have ever been taught by God. This spiritual lesson forever changed my life.

One morning, many years ago, I was deeply grieved over my relationship with my husband, and I had a deep spiritual question for God. I went to our upstairs prayer room in our supermarket and began to pour out my heart to God.  I was saying to Him, “Lord, I see answered prayers all the time when I pray for others in my prayer ministry. I have prayed for over twenty years for the relationship between my husband and me, and the problems never cease.  My prayers for this relationship are not being answered!  Why??   Suddenly, I heard a song being sung, “It is me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer!” I was shocked!!! I thought, because I often walked in the presence of God, that I was without sin in the matter of my relationship with my husband.

God went on to tell me, “I can’t answer your prayer because you are part of the problem!” I had always blamed and excused my behavior on my husband’s actions and behavior.  I thought anyone would feel as I did under the circumstances. I felt I was the victim and couldn’t help myself. If my husband changed I thought that would change how I felt and acted.  Wrong!! “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). Each person is responsible for his own sin.

When fervent prayers do not change or affect a situation or a relationship, it is an indication of “sin” that is not being dealt with. God has His higher and more perfect laws that dictate the rules of engagement against sin. Now I pay strict attention to the scripture that says, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye” (Luke 6:41-42).

An extremely important scripture that applies to praying for relationships is: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalms 66:18). That night God began to uncover my own sins. My husband said something to me (it was not provocative) and I answered him as I usually would.  God’s Spirit said, “Why did you answer him as you did?” I saw (in horror) that my every word was tinged and filled with spirits of “bitterness, resentment, anger, and hatred” that stemmed from the hideous sin of “unforgiveness!” I had accepted those sins into my life and Satan had a right to use them for my destruction! The Lord then told me how to pray and get rid of them out of my soul and spirit.

When sins have long been resident in our nature, ordinary prayer often will not permanently change us.  God told me that I needed the spiritual surgery that Matthew speaks about in Chapters 16 and 18.  “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).  I took the spirits of bitterness, resentment, anger, hatred and unforgiveness and one by one confessed them as sin.  Next I bound each one  by name and commanded it to loose me. I then asked God to fill me with His perfect love.  “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

I immediately felt like a huge load had been taken off my back, and I felt “joy unspeakable!” However, I had to prove my healing by my future actions and attitudes. I never told anyone what had happened to me.  It was all new, and I wanted to “road test” this inner healing and see if it truly changed me.  As I walked with God, I could tell I was healed, and my spirit had  changed because the destructive forces that had been within me were gone. The stress of the load of sin had disappeared.  At the end of a couple months, my husband said to me, “What has happened to you?  You are changed and have become so different.  I want you to know how much I love you!” My change brought huge changes in our relationship that lasted forty more years (until my husband passed away).  What I am going to write now is for the glory of God alone. My husband died of Alzheimer’s disease a month before our sixtieth wedding anniversary.  To the end (when he didn’t recognize his children or could hardly talk and didn’t realize I was his wife), he patted my hand when he saw me and said, “You are so good.” Any goodness I had came from the only one who is truly good–God.

I had been in hopeless bondage to “unforgiveness” and all of its attendant sins, and God set me free to bear the image of Christ to the world. Dear ones, do not be in bondage to any sin.  If a sin is of short inner possession, pray and ask God’s forgiveness and ask Him to remove it.  If you have had it a long time, you might need to  confess it, bind it, and command it to loose you.  Next, ask God to replace the sin with God’s opposite attribute (i.e. remove hate and replace it with love and so forth). “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. MAY OUR LIVES GLORIFY HIM WHO HAS GIVEN TO US THE GIFT OF LIFE” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Let us pray:  My dearest Lord and Father God, reveal to me where I am in bondage to sin. I want to be a righteous example of you.  Help me to see those sins that beset me and that hold me back from being my best for you.  Time is short and the world needs to see Christ in me and in all of His children.  Purify me, give me the words and works that will glorify you.  Give me a burden for others and teach me to pray for them and minister your love. Help me to take the sorrows and wounds of  others, and may I lead them into your presence.  May I exemplify the love of Christ, and  fill me with your anointing that I may be a greater light in the darkness around me.  Help me to work your works and love and care for others. Change me where I need to be changed that I may be like you.  I love you.  Amen.