I knew I had forgiven him. At least, I thought I had. But as I spotted him from a distance coming up the aisle at the grocery store, a familiar pain pinched my stomach. I scurried over to the next aisle, ducking out of view. I began to wonder. Had I really forgiven this person who hurt me? I remember speaking words of forgiveness in prayer, but did I accept them in my heart?
Jesus gave us the ultimate example of how to forgive when he willingly hung on a cross to offer us forgiveness for our own sins. He spoke the powerful words, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34 NLT) This unfathomable demonstration of sacrifice showed how important it is for us to forgive. Yet we still struggle with it. So how can we forgive someone in our prayers and know we truly mean it with our hearts?
Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” The words Paul shared with the church in the verses that follow can serve as instruction when we pray to forgive those who hurt us. Forgiveness is hard. But with God’s Word as our guide, we can learn to forgive even in the deepest places of pain. We can fully release the hurt and move forward with a newfound compassion for our offender.
Have you struggled to forgive that person who hurt you? Here is a prayer for forgiving them. Let’s join together in prayer with these words to our Heavenly Father. May they help us offer the gift of forgiveness today.
Dear Merciful Lord,
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Thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me.
I understand that even though I feel scarred, my emotions don’t have to control my actions. Father, may Your sweet words saturate my mind and direct my thoughts. Help me release the hurt and begin to love as Jesus loves. I want to see my offender through my Savior’s eyes. If I can be forgiven, so can he. I understand there are no levels to your love. We are all your children, and your desire is that none of us should perish.
You teach us to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.” (Col. 3:15) When I forgive in words, allow your Holy Spirit to fill my heart with peace. I pray this peace that only comes from Jesus will rule in my heart, keeping out doubt and questions. And above all, I am thankful. Not just today, not just this week, but always. Thank you for the reminder, “Always be thankful.” (Col. 3:15) With gratitude I can draw closer to you and let go of unforgiveness. With gratitude I can see the person who caused my pain as a child of the Most High God. Loved and accepted. Help me find the compassion that comes with true forgiveness.
And when I see the person who hurt me, bring this prayer back to my remembrance, so I can take any ungodly thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) And may the confidence of Christ in my heart guide me into the freedom of forgiveness. I praise you for the work you are doing in my life, teaching and perfecting my faith.
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In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Kristine Brown is a communicator at heart who teaches about God’s powerful, relatable Word. She is the author of Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan and founder of the non-profit organization, More Than Yourself, Inc. Kristine writes about her God-story and helps others discover their own at www.morethanyourself.com.
Publication date: August 30, 2016
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Prayer brings life to our relationship with God.Gods word says that “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.Jeremiah 29:11
I pray and plead the Blood of Jesus Christ for all the homeless people, for all broken families, for all unemployed, for all the women and children who are alone without any help, for all the animals who are homeless and sick, for all the sick people who are suffering, for all the old people, for all the people who are affected by wars, natural disasters, for all the broken marriages,the victims of various circumstances, for all the poor people, for all the Job operating Companies/Industries for which their business have hurt due to bad economy.
May the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse my sins as well as their sins so that they might be healed and their prayers will be answered without any hindrances. May the precious Blood of Jesus Christ protect them from all evils and guide them and give them strength, hope, comfort, healing, peace, prosperity and Good health. I call forth, in the Name of Jesus, all of God’s plans and purposes for their lives and their families. Lord Jesus Christ I pray that you will have mercy on them and deliver each one of them in their times of trouble. I surrender all the above people to you, knowing that they will be very safe in your hands.
Lord Jesus, I ask you to bless me and every person I have prayed for today and everyday and send Your mighty angels to protect all of us in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen!
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…And You’re Not Ready to Forgive and Forget
When a man I loved left me, I couldn’t hate him — when you truly love someone you wish him the best. But I felt terribly shocked and wounded. His occasional calls gave me false hopes and only prolonged my grief. Desperate for a way to cope with the burden of my pain, I remembered Luke 6:28: “bless those that curse you; pray for those that mistreat you.”
“Praying for him” did not mean begging God to turn back the clock and make everything all right. That didn’t help me heal. It meant finding a way to pray that God would bless and keep this man, and light his way. Praying for him took my focus off of myself and balanced things out. I needed it, and he needed it.
Then I looked for advice on how to pray even while the very thought of this person still cut me and I was not yet ready to forgive or forget. It was left to me to humbly offer these suggestions.
- While praying for the one who hurt you, avoid picturing him. Put away the photos. Don’t relive memories good or bad. These inspire grief, not prayer. Picture not his face or self but the God in him, the divine spark given to us all. I saw this as a chunk of gold or a wink of light. This helped me see that this man still had goodness in him and needed my prayers.
- Don’t pray for this person to change, or for their conversion. These things are in God’s hands and/or in the hands of the individual. Prayer is powerful but it does not make the phone ring.
- Pray for your own understanding. Praying for my loved one broke up my constant pleading and bargaining with God and let God get a word in edgewise. He informed me: “This person is in the dark, and must find his own way out. You cannot help him.” This was painful to hear, but now I knew better what to pray for.
- Be busy while you pray. Lying awake at night or kneeling alone in a chapel will only summon up memories, anger, and sobs that may be natural but keep your wound from healing. Sweep the sidewalk, take a walk with a camera, practice free-throws with the children. Just get active, and then pray, when you think of it, “God, please bless him (or her),” or “Help me understand.”
- Keep these prayers short and simple. “God, please protect her,” “God, please help him quit drinking,” “Dear God, let him find peace” — those are sufficient.
- Get “above” it. Imagine you are viewing the earth from above, as if it were a dollhouse with the roof cut away. There you are, and, miles away, there he (or she) is, perhaps watching TV, working, sleeping, dating someone else. From this distance you both look a lot like the rest of humanity. This perspective encourages an open heart and compassion so you can stand to ask for blessings on the person whose behavior tempts you to hate.
- Pray with just one other person. Grief and resentment are natural but keep you spiritually isolated. Ask one person to pray with you. (Prayer circles do not seem to work for this; you get sympathy, but later when you are alone, the pain returns in full force.) It doesn’t matter if you pray with a family member or a stranger for blessings on the lost one; it just helps.
- Don’t “expect a miracle.” Your expectations — especially when you are grieving or resentful — might not line up with God’s will or what is best for you or another. To expect something is to be passive, a taker. Pray for a miracle, but don’t “expect” it.