Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

“Forgive us our trespasses…” Then Jesus in his great prayer adds one line of fine print to this too-good-not-to-be-true offer: “…As we forgive those who trespass against us.”   

 

Hmmm. Strings attached?

 

Evidently, if we ask for release from God from the responsibility of paying back our debt from messing over his world, then we must in tandem extend release to anyone owing us for debt accrued by wrongs committed against us. 

 

This proves a crucial point for Jesus.  He adds immediately following the “Lord’s Prayer,” “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

 

Prayer asking for forgiveness from God must include prayer that offers release to others.  A prayer in this pattern might look like this: “Father God, I ask for your release of my guilt.  The lie I told last week has proved very damaging.  I cannot stop the effects.  Forgive my guilt.  And with this I release Charlie for the lie he told about me.  I will not bring a charge against him.  I trust you to work out the justice…”

 

Jesus assures us that prayers like this move God’s heart and God’s hand. 

 

And how?

– Ask God to reveal any harbored unforgiveness (Matt. 6:14)

– Allow Jesus to carry this hurt in your place (Is. 53:4)

– Ask that God will bless this person as he sees fit (Matt. 5:44)

 

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