Devotional: ‘Praying for Forgiveness’

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Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 

As surely as we will need to ask God each and every day for our daily bread, we will also need to ask Him each and every day for His forgiveness. I remember reading once where Charles Spurgeon said that he had a difficult time praying and not asking for forgiveness. I understand completely what he was saying. Though I begin each day with the intention to live completely for God, never do I fully accomplish it. Somewhere along the way of each and every day I fail the Lord. I agree with the Apostle Paul when he said that so often he didn’t do the things he knew he should do, and he did do the things he knew He shouldn’t. [1]

Jesus knew that we would need daily forgiveness and so He encouraged us to pray for it. What are the conditions necessary for us to receive God’s continuous forgiveness?

1) We Must Acknowledge the Sins We Know We Have Committed

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

John tells us that confession of sin is necessary in order to receive God’s forgiveness. What does it mean to confess our sins? The Greek word translated here is two words put together. One part of the word means ‘to say something’, and the other part of the word means ‘the same thing.’ Therefore, the word ‘confession’ means to ‘say the same thing about our sin as God says about it.’ People who try to hide their sins or make excuses will not receive God’s forgiveness. God forgives the sins that we confess.

2) We Must Be Willing to Forgive, Even as We Desire to be Forgiven 

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12) Jesus elaborated on this point when He said – “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15) 

Psalm 32:1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah 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. Selah 6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found…

[1] Romans 7:15

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