(Optional Reading: Matthew 6:7)
Are you willing to forgive? That is the question that remains in my mind at the end of my time of prayer. Each day of prayer has an optional scripture reading that goes with the directed prayer for that day. I have been posting the optional readings at the beginning of each post of my 30 day journey with Wesley. Today’s optional reading is what stuck with me the most.
I am not a fan of reading one verse and calling it good. Because of this, I ending up reading Matthew 6:7-14. Within this passage, Jesus gives us two impacting statements and one amazing tool.
It is within this passage that Jesus gives us the tool of the Lord’s Prayer (As written at the bottom of this post). He instructs the disciples to pray the Lord’s prayer in response to a statement in verse 7. “When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words, as the Gentiles do. They think that by saying many words they’ll be heard.”
When we pray, we do not need to worry about what words we use. Prayer is all about communication and praise. In my local church, we commonly describe prayer as a conversation between two friends. You don’t need to fancy it is up because you are talking to God. Rather, simply talk as if you were talking to your best friend.
After explaining the Lord’s prayer, Jesus makes a second statement. Jesus says, “If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins.”
Talk about a line in the sand. This is a huge statement. It is a statement that needs to daily shape and affect your life. The same message is found in the parable of the unforgiving servant later in Matthew (Matthew 18:21-35). Simply put, to be forgiven, you must forgive. I find it very interesting that these statements about prayer and forgiveness are found in the same conversation. It is as if Jesus is saying, “Don’t put on a show and try and look holy by praying with big fancy words. Rather pray this simple prayer that covers all your needs. But if you doing all of this and any you haven’t forgiven someone, then you don’t really get it.”
Perhaps we need to realize that prayer and forgiveness should go together.
What do you think about this idea of prayer and forgiveness working together? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.
God may we live a life of constant forgiveness. May we not make our prayers into a show. May we not feel like we need to make our speech fancy for you. But may we simply pray the prayer you have instructed us to pray and live by it.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.