Saturday, June 3, 2017

Forgiveness is God's Will

June 3, 2017 In the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, he instructed them to worship and to ask. The prayer itself is as all prayer is, a recognition of our need for help beyond ourselves. We pray for God's kingdom to come, his will to be done before addressing our personal needs. Our sustenance, our forgiveness, and the ability to resist evil are all proper subjects of prayer. We need God's help and grace for all of these. Praying this prayer this morning, it occurred to me that God wouldn't command us to pray for something he has no intention of giving. If we are to pray for it, God intends for us to have it. His kingdom to come? God intends to answer that prayer. His will to be done? We are to pray for it, and to become in part, the answer to those prayers. We pray for our daily needs knowing that God in his goodness and grace intends to answer those prayers. The same is true for forgiveness. How often have I prayed for forgiveness, not really believing that it would be given. If I didn't feel forgiven; if I wasn't able to shake the guilt I felt, I would wallow in that guilt, praying for it over and over. The problem with that kind of guilt and unbelief is that if we don't receive grace, it's pretty hard to give it. Our prayers become a treadmill of desperation instead of a haven of hope. If we take his words seriously, Jesus' prayer instructions can become that haven of hope. He teaches us to pray for forgiveness because he intends to give it. Every time we ask. Without fail. If that doesn't give hope, I don't know what will. I am thankful for this prayer, and for God's intention that is the foundation for it. When we ask for forgiveness, he gives it. That is good news, and cause for highest praise and thanks.

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