“If I were your enemy, I would use every opportunity to bring old wounds to mind, as well as the people, events, and circumstances that caused them. I’d try to ensure that your heart was hardened with anger and bitterness. Shackled through unforgiveness.”—Priscilla Shirer, Fervent (151)
Have you ever been there? So hurt and angry over someone’s actions or decisions that have caused you great pain? Wanting to be free from it but unable to let it go?
The quote above is the introduction to “Strategy 9—Your Hurts: Turning Bitterness to Forgiveness,” in Shirer’s latest book, Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. This chapter reveals how Satan uses our hurts to keep us bound and our unforgiveness to keep us from intimacy with God.
Shirer shares a personal example of how the Lord used 2 Corinthians 2:5, 7-9 to convict her about a bitter root she had allowed to grow in her heart. She says, “Unforgiveness is a strategic “design,” craftily implemented by your enemy to “outwit” you, to cripple your effectiveness in prayer and your power to stand against him victoriously” (153).
We’ve all been hurt by others—sometimes in grievous ways, sometimes in very small ways—but nonetheless, Satan will keep us constantly dwelling on the hurt and focused on the one who caused it. If we continue in this hurt without forgiving the offender, Shirer says that we miss out on the “freedom and intimacy” that God desires to have with us.
“Unforgiveness is his [Satan’s] design to “outwit” you—to keep you not only bruised and bleeding but unable to experience any power in your prayers or intimacy with your Father” (157).
Fervent gives us not only the incentive to forgive, but also the strategy for prayer to help us get to that point. Shirer’s book is quite hands-on, with encouragement from the Word of God to inspire us as we pray and ask God to help us forgive and trust Him with the outcome.
If you struggle with even the smallest area of unforgiveness or lack of power in your prayer life, I highly suggest getting a copy of Fervent and allowing the Lord to minister to you and heal your hurt.