When I pray, my natural tendancy is to ask God to forgive my sins, before I do anything else. I usually do a quick inventory to see if there is anything I have not asked him to forgive and sometimes bring up things I have asked him to forgive, but still am ashamed of. How come I pray this way? Why do this first?
There seems to be part of me that believes that God will not hear me if there is sin in my life. I think most Christians would say that is true. Are there faulty teachings and beliefs that hinder my relationship with God? I don’t know if I agree with asking God to forgive me before I can be effective in praying and this is why.
Mat 6:9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I don’t think he was teaching them a prayer to repeat; although there is certainly nothing wrong with that. He was showing us what to include in our prayers and possibly the priorities or pattern we could use.
I notice that he doesn’t even get to asking for forgiveness until he is almost to the end. And when he does, he makes sure we are asking to be forgiven in the same manner we forgive others. He even reiterates that we will not be forgiven if we do not forgive.
Here are some thoughts:
- We were forgiven when we believed God, repented, and accepted the fact of Jesus’ blood being shed for us cleansed us from all sins.
- There is no need to keep getting forgiven over and over, to be clean enough for God to hear my prayers.
- God is more concerned about our relationship with Him as our father, the advancement of His kingdom, our daily needs; than our dealing with our ongoing failures.
- In dealing with our shortcomings he demands us to show the same forgiveness to others that we want from him. He will only give us the release of our debts in the same proportions we do to others.
- Our sin, after salvation, does not hinder us from having relationship with God in the same manner that you do not become less of a child of your parents when you do bad things.
- Since we have been given righteousness as a gift from God (that we do not deserve) and is a one time deal, could this ongoing forgiveness we seek have more to do with releasing us to live the life of blessing God wants us to have now?
In closing, I think we need to receive God’s forgiveness, once and for all. Stop groveling at his feet and lift up our heads and have a relationship with the God who loves us. We need to treat others right and extend to them the same type of forgiveness that we are offered by God. Find out what is important to God and focus on doing that.