9 Pray like this:
Our Father who is in heaven,
uphold the holiness of your name.
10 Bring in your kingdom
so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.
11 Give us the bread we need for today.
12 Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.
13 And don’t lead us into temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
14 “If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you don’t forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins.
This past Sunday morning was just beautiful and as I began the drive to church I saw so many people out walking around, some whom I knew, that I felt an urge to pray. I started to pray for the people out and about who were clearly not headed for church asking God to bless them. Then I realized what was behind my concern was that I was assuming that they did not know God and started to say to myself, well what if they went to church Saturday or had been to a 7 AM service or … Needless to say, I then needed to ask God to forgive me for my error in thought.
A situation like what I just described is why Jesus needed to have the discussion that he had with his followers. They were hypocritical and still worldly minded. This was in part attributable to the scribes and Pharisees public explanation of the law, and actions, which did not match the Torah.
Jesus saying that we should pray to God reminds us that God is one who recognizes our infirmities and weakness. When we come asking for forgiveness God forgives because he loves us, and his nature is loving and gracious.
Note that in the prayer we are to ask for forgiveness for the wrongs that we have done to God and to others. In addition, we must offer that same forgiveness for wrongs done to us. God is gracious, we are called to be gracious.
We cannot miss that God’s forgiveness is conditioned on our forgiveness of others. Jesus is talking about our fellowship with God as part of our discipleship. To forgive is to not hold a grudge and not to seek retribution. Since we all need forgiveness regularly how can we withhold it?
by Clarence Beverage
For Pondering & Prayer
Really thinking about forgiveness has been challenging. Do you think it would be helpful to discuss with others you feel you know well in your church, friend(s) or family? Do you think keeping the practice of forgiveness always in mind could make it easier?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, each and every week I thank you for your presence, love, and forgiveness. May you grant each person reading devotionals this week the understanding that forgiveness makes us strong in you. Amen.