A Prayer to Get Rid of All Bitterness – Your Daily Prayer – May 17


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A Prayer to Get Rid of All Bitterness
By Kristine Brown

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” (Ephesians 4:31 NLT)

Bitterness. It can creep into our minds undetected. It may start with one small thought but left unchecked, bitterness can maneuver its way into our hearts and make itself at home. Many things can trigger bitterness. Like coming face to face with someone who wronged us in the past. Recalling the hurtfulness for which they never apologized or even acknowledged. We sometimes bury bitter feelings so deep that we think we’ve rid ourselves of them. But then, that person or memory pops up, and the bitterness we once felt comes back with a vengeance. Over time, the small seeds of bitterness can develop roots and begin to grow.

God directs us in his Word to get rid of bitterness. Our Heavenly Father understands how destructive it can be to our lives. Bitterness also affects those around us, spilling out on our families, friends, and coworkers. But God’s direction is clear; he wants us to live free from the entanglement of bitterness. The apostle Paul instructed the church at Ephesus to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior” (Ephesians 4:31). Paul’s encouragement to live as children of Light inspired Jesus’ followers through building his church, and that instruction still holds true for us today. We cannot shine the Light of Jesus Christ to a dark world if we’re holding on to bitterness.

In my personal experience, bitterness has often sprouted because of a perceived wrong. When I felt like I’d been treated unjustly, that lingering resentment fed the root of bitterness and helped it grow. I’ve even become bitter over unanswered prayers. Times when something horrible happened in my circumstances, and I questioned why God didn’t do something to stop it. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says bitterness is “the spite that harbors resentment and keeps a score of wrongs.” So if bitterness keeps score, then according to the truth of 1 Corinthians 13, we could say that the opposite of bitterness is love. “It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged” (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Wouldn’t I rather harbor love than bitterness? The answer is yes, yet I know getting rid of bitterness takes an intentional commitment to seek God’s ways and the leading of the Holy Spirit in my everyday life. I cannot get rid of bitterness if I’ve given it a place to thrive. To break free from bitterness, I must pull it out from the roots and replace it with the good things of God.

Romans 5:5 reminds us of this truth: “For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Once we get rid of all bitterness, along with the other traits described in Ephesians 4:31, we will be prepared to display those good qualities Paul described in the very next verse. “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32) As we pray today’s prayer to get rid of all bitterness, let’s open our hearts to God and ask for a fresh filling of his love. 

Let’s pray:

Dear God,
Lately, I’ve felt bitterness invading my mind and heart. I’ve entertained bitter thoughts and let them affect every area of my life. Forgive me for allowing bitterness to take root. Help me get rid of all bitterness so that I can display kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness toward others. Thank you for helping me recognize bitterness so I can bring it to you and ask you to cleanse my heart. Thank you for teaching me through your holy Word how destructive bitterness can be to my life and those around me. Today, I get rid of all bitterness and release my hurt over perceived wrongs against me. Pour out your unending love into my life, Lord. I choose to live free from bitterness.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Tinnakorn Jorruang

For more spiritual growth resources, check out the 5-day email devotional, How to Be Free from Bitterness, by today’s devotion writer, Kristine Brown. Learn more about women in the Bible and find encouragement to help you “become more than yourself through God’s Word” at Kristine’s website, morethanyourself.com.

Teach Us to Pray is a FREE prayer podcast hosted by iBelieve writer Christina Patterson. Each week, she gives you practical, real-life tips on how to grow your faith and relationship with God through the power of prayer. To listen to her episode on What to Pray in the Morning for a Worry-Free Day, click below!

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