“In your prayer, you may acknowledge to God that you forgive them—not as a statement of pride to God but as a way of humbly acknowledging to God what you are doing. You may need to ask for help to forgive them. It can be hard to get over the hurt and betrayal of being wronged. It is not always pettiness that makes these wounds deep. Part of the prayer involves asking God for strength and ability to forgive.”
In this series, we are examining how the Lord’s prayer shapes our prayer life. In this post, we want to apply the phrase “…Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…” How does this statement in the Lord’s prayer shape our prayers?
First, we should pray regularly for the forgiveness of sins. The believer in the Lord Jesus Chris is eternally forgiven from the moment they place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. When a Christian is justified before God they will saved from the future judging wrath of God (Rom. 5:9). Yet, we are still to approach God and regularly confess our sins since Christ is our advocate in heaven (1 John 1:9, 2:1).
When you pray, ask the Lord to forgive your sins. If we know of any sins, take them and confess what they are. Acknowledge their guilt against God. In humility, simply ask to be forgiven. As you do this, remember how the cross of Christ has paid for sin.
As you continue to pray, ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and draw to your mind any unconfessed sin. There is no shame in asking the Holy Spirit to bring specific sins to our attention. Pray for your conscience to be pricked. Ask for your hearts to be illuminated. We ask the Holy Spirit to bring unknown sins to our attention so that we might have the joy of confessing them and the assurance that God forgives sins. The goal is not to be incapacitated with guilt, but to simply walk humbly with our God.
As you are praying, consider reading Scripture and reflect on God’s forgiveness of sin. You may find Psalm 32 or 51 particularly helpful for both confession and reminder of the preciousness of forgiveness.
Second, we must also be willing to forgive others in our life. In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells the parable of a servant who was forgiven a great debt but was unwilling to forgive another of little debt. The point of the parable is that those who have God’s forgiveness are willing to forgive others. Our sin against a holy God is far greater than any way another person could wrong us. If I am unwilling to forgive and bitterly hold on to what I am owed when I was wronged, then how can I claim to know God’s forgiveness?