Topic: Praying For Forgiveness
Text: Matthew 6: 12
Key Verse: Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us. – Matthew 6:12 JCB
Every line in the prayer model Jesus taught his disciples contains the essentials of prayer. Asking for forgiveness from the heavenly Father is a sign of humility. Knowing God is holy and desires that we be holy as he is, it is essential to acknowledge that we may have fallen short of his standards.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with feelings of compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. – Colossians 3:12-13 JCB
Instead, be holy in all that you do, just as God who called you is holy. The scripture says, “Be holy because I am holy.” You call him Father, when you pray to God, who judges all people by the same standard, according to what each one has done; so then, spend the rest of your lives here on earth in reverence for him.- 1 Peter 1:15-17
As we approach the Father in prayer, Jesus wants us to be aware of his holiness as a requirement of having fellowship with him.
The most common offenses are usually offenses arising from our complaints against each other which we carry in our hearts. Jesus reminds us that these issues must be dealt with in prayer by forgiving those who hurt us so that God will forgive our faults and we will not fall short of God’s righteous standard.
Releasing others by forgiving them is something we struggle with for several reasons. As TD Jakes says in a quote, “I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator; forgiveness liberates the victim. It’s a gift you give yourself.”
You stand the risk of denying yourself God’s presence and answers to your prayers when you refuse to forgive others. It’s a gift you must give yourself daily to forgive generously.
I can testify that the burden of harboring offenses is a weight you carry around that wears you out and steals your Joy. Unforgiveness does not only disqualify you as a child of God; it affects your health and opens the door of your soul to demonic possession.
How was Stephen able to forgive those who stoned him to death? What was he thinking of at that moment as he prayed? Having a judgemental mindset and vengeful spirit makes it difficult to forgive others. Being quick to pray for judgment and rain curses on those who have offended you prevents you from being heard in the courts of heaven and receiving answers to your prayers.
They kept on stoning Stephen as he called out to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” He knelt and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord! Do not remember this sin against them!” He said this and died. – Acts 7:59-60 GNT
How was Stephen’s prayer answered? One of those who joined to stoned him to death is your favorite Apostle Paul formally known as Saul. Can you imagine what would have happened if God did not forgive Paul for this crime? Notice that even the religious leaders were part of this evil, so be careful whose teachings you believe and live by!
With a loud cry, the Council members covered their ears with their hands. Then they all rushed at him at once, threw him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses left their cloaks in the care of a young man named Saul. – Acts 7:57-58 GNT
Today, many believers are still being stoned and left for dead by the emotional trauma we cause them in the house of God. Be quick to forgive the perpetrators of this wickedness against you for your own sake. Learn from this parable Jesus gave in the Gospel.
When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. The king called the first official back in and said, “You’re an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. Don’t you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?” The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. That is how my Father in heaven will treat you if you don’t forgive each of my followers with all your heart. – Matthew 18:31-35 CEV
Today Satan stands to accuse us, just like the officials did in this parable, when we refuse to forgive. I was my enemy and hindered my ministry all the years l tolerated the sin of unforgiveness in my life. The secret to making forgiveness a lifestyle is a heart of compassion for others.
Then I heard a voice from heaven shout, “Our God has shown his saving power, and his kingdom has come! God’s own Chosen One has shown his authority. Satan accused our people in the presence of God day and night. Now he has been thrown out!- Revelation 12:10 CEV
I was given another vision. This time Joshua, the high priest, was standing in front of the Lord’s angel. And there was Satan, standing at Joshua’s right side, ready to accuse him. Joshua’s clothes were filthy. So the angel told some of the people to remove Joshua’s filthy clothes. Then he said to Joshua, “This means you are forgiven. Now I will dress you in priestly clothes.” – Zechariah 3:1,3-4 CEV
Make it a habit to treat the faults and offenses of others against you promptly so that you will continue to enjoy the forgiveness of the Father and enjoy fellowship with one another. Your gifts and service in the kingdom will be in vain if you ignore the practice of asking for and giving forgiveness to others.
So if you are about to place your gift on the altar and remember that someone is angry with you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. Make peace with that person, then come back and offer your gift to God. – Matthew 5:23-24 CEV
Father, thank you for showing us how important it is to forgive others just as we are pardoned; help us by the power of the Holy Spirit to obey your word and make our prayers more effective in Jesus’ name, amen.
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