When we pray there are two basic ways to pray. A lot of us have prayers that are already written down such as the Lord’s prayer which we use. The other way to pray is without any script, just talking to as we would talk to a parent or counselor. Don’t forget, God is the ultimate counselor and advisor. The Lord’s prayer is part of Christ’s sermon on the Mount that appears in Matthew 6:9-13.
Many times when we pray, we forget these next two steps but they are vitally important to our walk with God. We need to regularly ask God to search our hearts and reveal our sin to us. We need to regularly be confessing those sins to God and asking Him to forgive us. Prayer is about cultivating a relationship with Jesus and in any relationship, part of intimacy is humility and openness. Humble, open, teachable hearts apologize when they are wrong. The mark of a truly humble heart is a genuine desire to apologize for wrongdoing and seek forgiveness. Do not leave any sin unconfessed; unrepented sin erodes your relationship with God and hinders intimacy with Him.
In Matthew 6:7 in Jesus’s words, right before he gives us the Lord’s prayer he warns us to avoid using vain repetitions. Most people recite the Lord’s prayer just as the way it is written which is okay as long as we contemplate each section and don’t repeat it just out of habit. Sometimes when we recite prayers that are already written it can very easily become too mechanical and lose a lot of or all of its meaning. I believe, along with a lot of scholars, that the Lord’s prayer was actually intended as an example of the things that should go into a prayer. The guide is too long to put in with this blog but if you email me through my website I will be more than happy to email it to you.
There is a part of the Lord’s prayer that I’m sure that most of us miss out on the implications that I will get into. We all have people that have heard us very deeply in life and it is very easy to hold grudges against these people. These are it can go very deep even to the point of a drunken driver killing somebody that you love or somebody just murdering a loved one. I know when my step-son was murdered by his wife this was very difficult for me to forgive her and I remember saying that I never would. I’m sure we have heard or even used phrases like “over my dead body will I forgive them”. I understand it is extremely difficult sometimes to forgive situations like that but we, as Christians, all know that the Bible says we are to forgive everyone and also to ask forgiveness from anyone that we have offended or hurt.
Verse 12 says;
“And forgive us our debts (sins), as we also have forgiven our debtors”
This is the part in the Lord’s prayer I’m sure we are not aware of. We do not realize it but every time you say this prayer we might be asking God not to forgive us and all is responsible for our sins. This thought made the shocking but if you reread the verse you will see it is what we refer to as being conditional. The verse has two parts. The first part asked for forgiveness but the second part uses the word “as” which makes the first part completely dependent on the second half which is that we have forgiven everyone else. This is the warning; if we do not forgive others, then we are without a doubt, saying to God that we want to be held responsible for our sins. I know this is not easy to absorb but then God never promises it will be easy to be a true Christian, just worth it.
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