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Have you ever prayed and felt that the ceiling of the church was a sheet of brass? Has your worship ever felt as though you were speaking into a hollowed log? Or have you ever prayed for a specific need to be met and felt like your words were lost in outer space? Biblically, prayers can be hindered (see 1 Pet. 3:7), delayed (see Dan. 10:11-13), and under some conditions, not even heard by the Lord (Mark 11:25). If prayers can be hindered, then so can the manifestation of your healing.

Communion with God (prayer) is the verbal umbilical chord that connects us to God. Under the old covenant, male circumcision sealed the covenant between God and Abraham's seed. The altars were places of sacrifice where God's covenant promises and man's future blessings were sealed with the blood of animals (see Gen. 15:1-18). Obedience to God's Word was the key that unlocked the blessings promised by the Lord. God instructed Israel, "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine" (Ex. 19:5, KJV).

If Israel obeyed God's commandments, He would abundantly prosper and bless them. If they disobeyed, God permitted trouble, distress and anguish to come upon the nation (see Deut. 28). Israel could release the favor of God or hinder the blessings of God by their words and action.

Likewise, the new covenant was cut with mankind at Christ's crucifixion but was sealed at Christ's resurrection (see Heb. 12:24). Circumcision of the male foreskin (see Gen. 17:11) was replaced with spiritual circumcision of the heart (see Rom. 2:29). The new covenant also requires that conditions be met in order for the blessing of the covenant to be released. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and my Words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7, NKJV) The Greek word for "abide" means "to stay in a given place; to remain in relation with."

All new covenant blessings are based upon an active relationship with Christ, not a mental knowledge of God or an intellectual understanding of certain spiritual concepts, but an inner working of the Holy Spirit that comes through confessing Christ as your Savior and Lord. Some people receive Christ as Savior because they want fire insurance (they want to escape hell), but a true covenant believer will also accept Christ's lordship, meaning, He is the master-the boss, if you please-and you are His obedient servant.

Abiding and being obedient are the power twins of the covenant. If you obey, you will abide; and if you're abiding, you are obeying. Yet the greatest commandment given to new covenant followers is very simple, but at times it is difficult to keep. It is the commandment to walk in continual love. It is easy to love God, but at times it is difficult to love people. Yet Jesus taught this was the greatest commandment (see John 13:34-35).

When our love ceases for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, a door is opened for the adversary to work, and the door is closed for God to bless. The greatest hindrance in the body of Christ to walking in love is a spirit of strife, bitterness and unforgiveness.

Strife and confusion are a breeding ground that creates negative feelings toward others. Those feelings can lead to a root of bitterness that when matured, produces the fruit of unforgiveness. If we willfully refuse to forgive, God cannot forgive us. Christ's warning implies that if we pray prayers with unforgiveness, our prayers will be hindered.

When Christ healed the sick, He often linked unforgiveness with the healing. When a paralyzed man was cured at the pool of Bethesda, Christ instructed him to go and sin no more lest a worst thing come upon him (see John 5:14). Here, forgiveness, freedom from sin and healing are linked.

To confess and ask forgiveness is the only method established to release a person from sin. The danger is that unforgiveness is not only a sin against a person; it is also a transgression against God. If believers persist in housing an unforgiving spirit in their hearts, strong repercussions will follow.

After more than 30 years of full-time ministry, I believe the greatest hindrance to a believer receiving healing is when unforgiveness blocks her spirit. When you do not forgive, you are holding people behind imaginary bars in your mental prison. This is displeasing to God and a roadblock on your road to health and healing.

Don't let anything hinder your relationship with Christ and your total healing. Determine today to release any and all you are holding captive through unforgiveness, and walk each day in total communion and love.

Adapted from The Meal That Heals by Perry Stone, copyright 2008, published by Charisma House. This book shows you the way to experience life-changing intimacy with God and at the same time, receive emotional, spiritual and physical healing. It will teach you how receiving daily Communion can extend your life and bring healing to your body, soul and spirit. To order a copy click on this link
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