Did you know that Jesus has given us the perfect prayer to pray each day to help us get ahead of any offenses that may be coming our way?
In Matthew 6, we read about Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray, more commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer. And today I want us to note the very parts Jesus seems to emphasize the most—confession and forgiveness.
If you haven’t already done so, take a few moments to read Matthew 6:9–15.
Giving and receiving forgiveness makes up almost half of what Jesus teaches here. Wow!
This grabs my attention and makes me lean in a little more to what Jesus wanted us to do on a daily basis besides just making our prayers about requesting help and provision from God.
The Lord’s Prayer reminds us what the human heart needs every day—we need God, we need to be forgiven, and we need to forgive. Which means forgiveness is supposed to be as much a part of our daily lives as eating and sleeping.
But I will readily admit, I’m not even sure I’ve ever done this weekly, much less daily. And maybe that’s the very reason I often have an unexplainable heavy feeling inside of me.
I’m too easily offended. I’m too quick to get defensive. I’m too slow to turn to prayer. I’m very rarely confessing. And I’m too often not forgiving.
But I want to change this. I want to mature in this.
I know I won’t do this perfectly. But that doesn’t mean I don’t try it at all.
Just a few weeks ago, someone I’ve been trying to help completely blindsided me with a reaction that felt extremely out of character and honestly undeserved. I was hurt. All I wanted to do was pull back from helping and give way to a full unleashing of my hurt on her.
But instead of immediately reacting, I remembered how earlier that morning I had prayed the Lord’s Prayer and confessed several things to the Lord in which my own heart needed some work.
I’d pre-decided to forgive those who might do or say something that might hurt me or stir up my strong emotion that day.
Instead of letting my anger stir me to cause more hurt and pain, I simply let my anger inform me that something needed to be settled between my friend and me. I asked her if she could come over to my house and instead of us trying to figure it out or talk it out, maybe we could pray it through together.
I let Jesus in me talk to Jesus in her. As we prayed, the most unexplainable peace washed over us both. It didn’t necessarily solve the issue at hand. But it did prevent the chaos of adding in more hurt, confusion, and opportunities for resentment.
Confession breaks the cycle of chaos inside of me.
Forgiveness breaks the cycle of chaos between us.
The Lord’s Prayer prepared my heart for something I didn’t even know was coming later that day.
Oh, friend… believe me when I say, the best time to forgive is before we are ever offended. The next best time to forgive is right now.
Were you surprised to see that confession and forgiveness should be a part of our daily lives? How often do these two practices show up in your own life? Knowing there is no condemnation if it has been a while, start today. Spend time purposefully sweeping your heart clean with confession and forgiveness.