We’ve been on a journey of learning how to pray in way that matters.
Today we’re discussing a hot topic for many of us… how we forgive others.
Jesus packed a lot of power into this prayer he taught us and his followers to pray. The Lord’s prayer is a life-giving prayer. It teaches us how to pray in a way that makes a difference. Its concepts are life-changing.
At the end of this post there is a recap of what we have discovered so far. If you like, scroll down and read that first if this is your first time joining us. Or…. jump in here, now.
Our source for this prayer journey has been Matthew 6
where Jesus taught his followers this prayer:
“This is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
let your name be kept holy.
Let your kingdom come.
Let your will be done on earth
as it is done in heaven.
Give us our daily bread today.
Forgive us as we forgive others.
Don’t allow us to be tempted.
Instead, rescue us from the evil one.
Today we’ll consider verse 12.
Forgive us as we forgive others.
Growing up we were taught to tell people that we are sorry for all kinds of mistakes and wrong-doings.
Sometimes I think that “I’m sorry” comes rolling off our tongues without really any heart or meaning behind the words. It’s kind of like saying, “Bless you!” when someone sneezes.
Many of us say, “I’m sorry” rather freely. How easy is it to say, “Forgive me for….”
In my mind there is a correlation to how we seek forgiveness and how we forgive. It takes humility to do both.
Let’s face it… like it or not we are prideful arrogant people. It’s not a stretch on any given occasion to feel that we are above seeking forgiveness… because in our minds we are right. And it’s that same posture which sets us up to expect someone to seek forgiveness of us.
Or worse… we might decide in our hearts that an individual who wronged or hurt us is not worthy of our forgiveness. What they have done is so bad it doesn’t deserve our forgiveness. When we do that, even out of our hurt, we put up a barrier of superiority and cop an attitude. We may have a sense of justification… or self-protection… but in actuality we are desiring that the other person pay for their wrong-doing. The thing is… there is a problem with this stance. It doesn’t accomplish anything. They don’t “pay” and we still hurt.
The other person has no idea that you are expecting them to seek forgiveness. And even if they are… you are the only one who carries the hurt that turns into hate and bitterness. They continue on as usual… and you become paralyzed by your “justified” unforgiveness.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus would have us pray… Forgive us as we forgive others?
I don’t know if you’re catching this… but this sentence is loaded with meaning.
There are a few things going on here…
One… praying these words… especially if we pray them regularly… will help us to recognize how critical it is that we forgive others.
Two… our forgiveness from the Father hinges on our heart. This is an interesting thing to wrap our minds around… but in essence God has given us a great power… the power to fully receive the love and forgiveness that only the Father can give which allows us to live fully free… or the power to live tormented crippling lives riddled with unforgiveness.
If we take off our glasses of pride and arrogance we will see ourselves as people in great need of constant forgiveness from the Father. We will see that we fall short… time and time again. We NEED his forgiveness so we can live unencumbered by our sin. Most of us find it more comfortable to wear glasses of pride and arrogance. We like the way it colors our world. We feel more in charge. We easily justify our self-righteousness. We have drunk the enemy’s Kool-aid. We have exchanged a heart of joy and priceless freedom for bitterness, sickness, and disease.
This all feels so uncomfortable. This is the stuff of hidden away dark rooms. It’s easier to deny than face. Yes?
That makes it even more imperative that we face it all… head on. With complete humility. Putting self aside and going before the Father and humbly seeking his forgiveness. There’s no room for explaining, or posturing. This is face-down-on-the-ground humility. This is emptying ourselves before the Father so he can fill us up with his love and grace. It’s allowing him to cauterize that ugly disease in our hearts so we can again find health and wellness… spiritually, mentally, physically.
Will you take the challenge?
Will you humble yourself before the Father and allow him to clean and renew you?
It’s the place we need to begin.
From that place, in God’s strength and power, we will be able to forgive those who have wronged us.
This is what sets us in motion to forgive and be forgiven… over and over and over again.
It’s not easy stuff… but it isn’t hard stuff for us because the Father has forgiven us through Jesus’ blood and righteousness. When we choose to live in this place of freedom we can give the forgiveness we have received and then in turn continue this amazing cycle of love and grace.
How would your world and relationships be different if you were able to live in this incredible momentum of forgiveness?
And now for the tough questions…
What’s stopping you from fully living in this freedom?
What will it take to move into the life-giving circle of forgiveness?
Following is a brief recap of our journey in prayer…
We began by looking at Matthew 6:6-8 NLT and discussed the first steps in learning how to pray in a way that matters.
The first is to recognize that our prayer time is something to be treasured, it’s a time of intimacy with God, and God rewards us for spending time talking with him.
Second is to remember that God already knows what we need before we ask. Because of this intimate relationship we have with him we don’t have to explain things and we can relax and be completely honest.
Third is to follow Jesus’ very specific guidelines for praying which are outlined in Matthew 6:9 GW. I love that he tells us HOW to pray.
Fourth is to not only address God as our Father in heaven, but to also tell him (and ourselves as hearers of our prayers) how he is set apart from us. It humbles us as we acknowledge his grandeur. Speaking his attributes changes our minds and helps our prayers to become more expectant… and I believe, more bold and powerful.
Fifth is to intimately align ourselves with God in this covenant relationship we are so blessed to have with him. To lift his name first and foremost fulfills God and us.
Sixth is to open ourselves up to having God’s kingdom come into our minds, our hearts, and the world around us. When we do, we think, act, and respond to God differently. And like Jesus we choose submission to the Father who loves us and knows what’s best for us and this world.
And… Seventh is to live in the knowledge that God is our one and only provider. Daily we need to look to him (not ourselves) for the essentials of life today… and not worry about tomorrow.
I’m so happy that you’ve joined me here for JoyDay! Giving thanks in community…. for the good and the not-so-good is an amazing way to re-set our compasses for the week. To encourage one another. And most of all to make our “joy-meters” soar. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Won’t you join me in looking back over the last week and counting just ‘seven’ from a whole week’s worth of gratitude?
Thank you Lord for…
- Your amazing compassion, love, and grace.
- forgiveness and the do-overs that come because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
- finally connecting with my dear friend and getting to do some important “catching up.”
- this time of preparing my heart for Christmas. The Advent readings seem so much richer.
- being able to create themed ornaments for my tree.
- a fresh tree that smells amazing.
- my amazing and supportive husband.
Now it’s YOUR turn!
Please join me by tapping in your ‘seven’ in the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts’ section below.
Thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave your sweet thoughts.
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