Prayer – no spiritual discipline is more vertically oriented. The intimate act of talking with our Heavenly Father is as personal as it gets in our relationship with him. It’s just me and God. Or is it?
Immediately after the Lord’s Prayer and its request for the forgiveness of sins, Jesus says that we must be willing to extend forgiveness if we expect to receive forgiveness. In other words, our vertical requests cannot be separated from our horizontal actions. To plead for forgiveness from God and withhold it from others is to play the role of a hypocrite. So the next time you pray, ask how your relationship with others might be influencing your relationship with God.