This week in our “40 Days of Prayer,” we are continuing to discover the richness and depth of using “The Lord’s Prayer” as a model for our prayers. Jesus gave it to us not so much as to show us what specific words to pray, but more as an example of “how” to pray. Using this model prayer, Jesus shows us the various components that will enrich our personal prayer life. Jesus introduced “The Lord’s Prayer” by saying, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.9 This, then, is how you should pray…” Matthew 6:7-9

Two nights ago, in our Wednesday Night Gathering, we spent much of our time sharing about confessing our sins to God asking for His forgiveness (“forgive us our sins”), and forgiving others who have hurt and offended us (“as we forgive those who sin against us”).

In his video teaching for this week, Pastor Rick made a powerful observation as to how God forgives us. He said, “God forgives us instantly, freely, completely and permanently.” If you think of each of these 4 truths, we begin to understand that God’s forgiveness is truly stunning! It stands in stark contrast in a world that knows so little about forgiveness. Even among Christians who regularly pray “The Lord’s Prayer,” we find a fragile and malnourished concept and practice of forgiveness. We pray asking God to forgive our sins, while we choose to hold on to past hurts, offenses that others have done to us. (Re-read Melissa’s poignant devotional sent to you yesterday!)

How do we break the stronghold in our hearts of unforgiveness and walls we’ve built around us as the result of our holding on to past hurts reliving them again and again? God gives us the key in Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind and tenderhearted to on another; and forgive one another as God has forgiven you through Christ!” To break free, we must forgive others the same way that God has forgiven us! We might recoil at the thought. Some of our hurts are severe and from our perspective, seem humanly impossible to forgive. Pastor Rick reminded us, “You will never have to forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you!” 

The key to releasing the hurts and sins of others against us, no matter how severe and traumatizing, is to fully comprehend – not only with our intellect but our hearts, too – just how much God has forgiven us. I know that if God kept a record of all my sins, just how endless and long that list would be! But God, in His unfathomable grace and the work of Jesus on the cross, has chosen to forgive me when I ask instantly, freely, completely and permanently! God, in His great love, refuses to keep a record of our sins (1 Cor. 13:5) and chooses not to remember them as some of us do to each other. Not only that, God tells us that His steadfast love never ceases, and that His mercies never come to end – they are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-23)

On June 12th, 1987, President Ronald Reagan stood at the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Berlin. That wall represented a barrier between freedom and oppression. The wall kept those in tyranny from experiencing liberty. Sternly and passionately, President Reagan addressed the Soviet Premier and world demanding “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

In our life’s quest to be more like Jesus each day, and to experience true liberty from guilt, shame, remorse and regrets, let us answer the passionate cry of the Holy Spirit to each one of us, “Tear down this wall!” Let’s partner with God and tear down our walls of unforgiveness towards others built by holding on to and reliving all our hurts and pains – and release them to God by forgiving others as God has forgiven us!


Pastor Bill