Devotion for Tuesday after the First Sunday in Lent

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. ~ Matthew 6:7-15

This passage includes the simple yet profound Lord’s Prayer. Jesus teaches us how we are to pray—praise God, look forward to His Kingdom where His will rules, and ask for His daily provision, for forgiveness as we forgive others, and for protection from sin and evil. Asking for our daily bread is a stretch for us. We aren’t to ask for provision for this week or for the kids’ college or our retirement, but for this day. As foreign as that is, what is really shocking in this passage is the words of Jesus on forgiveness. We are to pray that God will forgive us as we forgive those who hurt us—in many cases, we wouldn’t get much forgiveness if that were the case. We are far less willing to forgive than the Lord is, yet Jesus goes on to say that God will forgive us if we forgive others but will not forgive us if we don’t forgive others. We want to hold onto our hurts, but if we don’t forgive, we aren’t forgiven. Without forgiveness, we are still slaves to sin, and Jesus’ atoning work on the cross doesn’t save us.

Lord God, it’s so easy to hold onto hurts and offenses, feeling that the persons who hurt me don’t deserve forgiveness. But I don’t deserve forgiveness, either, and yet if I will forgive others, You will forgive me. Jesus died to cleanse me of my sins, but I can’t harbor any unforgiveness in my heart. Please show me where I have failed to forgive and give me a forgiving heart. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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