He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Luke 11:2-4 (NIV)
This week I’ve examined 4 elements of godly prayer modeled by Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer. Those 4 elements were praise, affirmation of God’s will, requests for personal needs, and our daily request for forgiveness.
It is the request for personal forgiveness that leads us to the fifth element…the admission of our responsibility to forgive those who have sinned against us. It is impossible to deeply engage with the Lord’s Prayer and fail to forgive others without becoming a hypocrite.
Jesus first models for us the aspect of recalling our own sins and requesting forgiveness…and then He ties that forgiveness to our own act of forgiving those who have sinned against us. Here and in other places within Scripture, Jesus makes it clear…if we don’t forgive others…we won’t be forgiven.
To forgive someone is not to dismiss their responsibility in an action…it is to let go of our anger, hurt, and desire for recompense. Forgiveness is letting go of what someone else owes us…so that we can heal from the offense.
When we fail to forgive others…we fall into danger of even greater sin by allowing a seed of bitterness to grow into anger and hatred. It’s no accident that Jesus follows the admonition to forgive with the request that we not fall into temptation.
Lack of forgiveness opens us up to great temptation.
Lack of forgiveness is a form of rebellion against God. It is pride…the ultimate form of evil exerting itself.
When we rebel against God…we are most vulnerable to temptation.
I’m sure many like myself have memorized the Lord’s Prayer. However, that may lead to saying the words without engaging our heart and mind. That’s why it’s usually better for us to improvise by using words that are fresh in the moment.
Using our own words engages our minds while our hearts become engaged as we feel the words we are saying.
An excellent exercise for the weekend ahead…
Prayer: Lord, help me develop and grow in my prayer life so that I may draw closer to You.