Thus far, The Lord’s Prayer has reminded us of: 1. Our familial relationship with God; 2. God’s greatness, 3. The vitally important purpose He has given our life; and, 4. That we can bring our needs to God.
Why in the world do you think Jesus waited until halfway through this prayer to bring up the idea of confession and forgiveness???
So as I’ve prayed and pondered over this question, the thought that keeps circling back to me is that Jesus is drawing us deeper into relationship. We NEED to grow our relationship with Him if we are going to be equipped to overcome temptation and trials [the next section of prayer.]
There is nothing that heals and grows relationships like confession and forgiveness and—this doesn’t just mean human relationships but also—our relationship with God!
Keep in mind, we are NOT talking about confession for salvation. No—once we belong to God by accepting His gift of salvation we belong to Him—irrevocably. Rather, we are addressing our ongoing relationship with God. So…since we live in a world dominated by offenses we should have a solid prayer plan to deal with it—right? If we don’t exercise daily forgiveness for offenses, we find ourselves in a “victim prison,” where bitterness, like battery acid, erodes our soul. Writing this section of the Lord’s Prayer was very timely for me. You see, it never fails that when I’m studying a particular portion of God’s Word, He gives me a practical exercise [not one I usually like either] to teach me.
So here goes…
Since 2011, I have been working with a team on a project that is literally a matter of life and death to a very vulnerable population. Since we began, we’ve rescued over 500 people! Recently, there was a very strong attack from the enemy that looked like it was going to cause us to have to shut down the entire operation. I was sick. I was angry. And I wish I could say that my first reaction was to ask God: “How should I treat those I believe have lost sight of the mission?” Instead, I let unhealthy thoughts linger in my mind and grow. And guess what? I landed in the “victim prison” while I was writing this part of the prayer series. Talk about God’s timing [and unappreciated sense of humor!] So, I poured my soul out to God. I confessed my anger and disappointment. And then—like the bright morning sun flooding into a darkened room, His Spirit spoke to me: “I know exactly how you feel.” It was then I realized that He deals with this kind of betrayal all the time—from me. I’m constantly sabotaging His kingdom mission with my selfish coup d’états. Oh, how humbling! God is so good to give us HIS perspective—just when we need it most.
So now let’s pray…
“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”Matthew 6:12
”Lord, You have not dealt with me according to my sins, nor punished me according to my iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is Your mercy toward those who reverence You. As far as the east is from the west, so far have You removed my transgressions from me. As a father pities his children, so You, Oh Lord, have compassion on those who love and respect You. For You know my frame; You remember I am only dust.” (Psalms 103:10-14) Father, I confess, I have been beyond angry at those I believe have conspired against Your work. I’m sorry I didn’t take this problem to You FIRST. I am sorry for allowing anger and offense to grow inside of me. Justice and judgment is not my job—it is Yours. I am sorry I felt justified in holding onto the offense when my offenses against YOU are far greater than any offenses against me. Have mercy on me, that I may glorify You, Oh Lord.
Thank you Father, for your great compassion.
“And when I am praying, if I am holding any grudge, anger, or offense against anyone, I must forgive him; that You, dear Father in heaven, will also forgive me for my trespasses. But if I do not forgive, neither will You forgive my trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26) Oh Lord, I long to be close to You! Substitute my anger for compassion. Give me the same measure of compassion and mercy for others that You have given to me. I desire Your presence more than I desire my anger. Help me let it go. May I forgive and forget. Fill me with the healing peace of Your presence.
Thank you Father, for the peace of Your presence.
“Lord, help me to rid my mind of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and my tongue of all evil speaking. And to be kind to others, tenderhearted, forgiving others, even as God in Christ forgave me.” (Ephesians 4:31-32) Lord, keep my mind stayed upon You. When I begin to think evil of others, remind me of your mercy towards me. Replace my unhealthy and toxic thoughts with thankfulness for all You have done for me. Fill my mind with thoughts that are good, lovely, right, noble, and the blessings of peace. Transform my mind with thankfulness for the great mercy I have received from You.
I will rejoice in the immense strength and freedom of forgiveness!
Ah, don’t you feel the freedom of letting go of the offenses against you??? Don’t you feel the strength of the Spirit’s presence growing inside of you??? This part of prayer is difficult because confession and forgiveness always are—but it is sooo worth it!
Tomorrow we will dive into….
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”Matthew 6:13
Stay tuned for more great adventures. I can’t wait to see what God teaches me next.
To learn more about Kimberly Faith and the mission of Faith Strong, click HERE.
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