Today’s workplace has changed in so many ways from those of the past. But in many ways, it is very similar. For instance, since that first person at the dawn of history decided to be a business owner, he or she probably asked God for supernatural blessings on their endeavor from the start. You and I are no different. We constantly seek God’s intervention where our businesses and ministries are concerned.
Is there room in your heart for God to answer your prayers?
Jesus said: “Have faith in God . . . all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and is shall be yours. When you stand to pray forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions” (Mark 11:22, 24–25). Notice Jesus is combining our faith in God, our belief that we will receive, and our forgiveness of others.
Just how connected are our faith and our willingness to forgive?
God created us in his image and likeness. To be like God would have to mean we have the ability to believe in him and all he can do. You could say we were born to believe. And the Bible assures us that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). So Jesus tells us to believe that we will receive when we pray and it will be ours. But why does he add forgiving others as part of our prayer life?
It appears that Jesus is telling us that as long as we hold on to our grudges, our anger, and our inability to forgive, our hearts are so filled with animosity and resentment there is no room to receive God’s love in the form of answered prayers. Our unwillingness to forgive forms a barrier or obstacle that forbids us from receiving God’s best. We become so filled with hurt or anger there is just no room for the love of God.
Think of it like a sponge filled with water. We can put it under the faucet trying to put more water in the sponge, but until we wring it dry there is not room for more water. But once we squeeze the old water out, the sponge can absorb new and fresh water instantly.
When our hearts are filled with the bitterness of unforgiveness, we must squeeze them dry by forgiving those who have wronged us. At that moment, we become free to receive all of God’s graces and favors. Only then, can he fill us up with answered prayers.
New habits are sometimes difficult to create. But the Holy Spirit made sure that Jesus’ words about prayer and forgiveness are recorded in his Sacred Scriptures.
Let’s consider making a few commitments:
- Let’s habitually approach each prayer with a faith so strong we know God wants to bless us.
- Let’s forgive anyone who has ever wronged us in any way and squeeze our hearts dry of any grudge or animosity.
- Once forgiven, if possible, let’s begin a process of reconciliation with those people.
- Now, let’s receive the blessings as we have made room for God to answer our prayers in ways that abundantly exceed our imaginations and expectations.
Those we forgive may be co-workers, employees, bosses, competitors, customers, and even family members. Try to imagine the beauty of those reconciled relationships as God opens doors for your business or ministry. As you imagine following God’s call in this new, spiritually infused environment, think also of the people who will be inspired and changed because of your willingness to combine your faith with your forgiveness.
As your mind engages in this exercise, would you share a time where you have experienced mixing your faith, prayers, and forgiveness and how God answered prayers as a result?
About Mike Van Vranken
Mike Van Vranken, a lifelong Catholic, is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, and teacher. Following forty years of leading, coaching, and developing business owners, Mike founded Mike Van Vranken Ministries to fulfill his passion to bring Jesus to the world around him. He brings his experiences as a mentor, leader, speaker, coach, and entrepreneur to provide teaching and spiritual leadership to all who are interested. His dream is to deliver the teachings of Jesus to women and men, old and young, poor and rich, people of every background and diversity – to the entire body of Christ.
Mike is co-author of the brand new book: Faith Positive in a Negative World. In paperback and on Kindle now at amazon.com.
Mike is an adjunct professor for the Bishop Greco Institute for Adult Formation of the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport. He writes a monthly column for the Catholic Connection, a magazine published by his Diocese. He served on the founding Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of North Louisiana. He gives Lenten, Advent, and Spiritual Missions, Keynote addresses, Breakout presentations, and he leads retreats. He holds a Masters Degree in Theological Studies from the University of Dallas and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas. He and Barbara, his wife of 42 years, live in Shreveport, LA.
Discover more about Mike at: www.mikevanvrankenministries.org as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google.