Key Scripture: Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
In order to be forgiven, we must first acknowledge and confess our wrongdoing. This is true not only when we ask God for forgiveness but also when we ask others for forgiveness. We must be willing to forgive others (whether they have asked for it or not) if we expect to be forgiven by the Father. In prayer, we must make a habit of confessing our sins to our Heavenly Father.
Jesus was nearing the middle of His great “Sermon on the Mount” and decided that the best way to help people understand how to pray was to show them by example. He emphasized in vv. 9–10 that our prayers should include praising the Father’s name, exalting His Kingdom, and seeking His will above our own. Following this time of focus during prayer, Jesus reveals our next item on the “prayer agenda.” In verse 12, Jesus teaches that before coming to the Lord with specific prayers, we must first acknowledge our sins and confess them. Only then can we ask God for forgiveness. Jesus wants us to do this EVERY time we pray so that we are reminded not only of our perpetual sin nature, but also of the eternal provision of the gospel. Only by the blood of Jesus is God’s forgiveness possible and has the wide gap between us and God been completely erased only by this same blood has the barrier between us and God been completely repaired. Now we can readily come before the throne and confidently petition God with a pure heart.
Questions to Consider: Will you humble yourself before God and others each day by making it a habit to ask for forgiveness when needed? Will you make it a habit to focus on God first, then ask for forgiveness before you jump into requesting prayers from Him?
- Praise God for sending Jesus to die on the cross so that we can be forgiven of our sins of the past, present and future.
- Help us to forgive others even when we don’t feel like it. Remind us that a grace-oriented person forgives and forgets. Open our eyes to your great example of grace in Jesus and help us each day to forgive others with a pure heart.
Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Psalm 32:5 “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity: I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”