Prayer for Forgiveness
And Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34a, AMPCE
While Jesus was in agony dying on the cross in the middle of a firestorm of hatred and mockery, His first words were a loving prayer of pure forgiveness! Jesus’ heartfelt prayer was made on behalf of the simply ignorant and His accusers. Here, Jesus was practicing what He taught about praying for and loving His enemies (Luke 6:27-28). He was also fulfilling prophecy by praying with, "intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12) as He graciously gave His life for the sins of the world.
Jesus was also following His Father’s model of showering His unfailing love and forgiveness on His children. God’s gracious model was often demonstrated by overlooking His children’s ignorance and granting them His blessings of pardon and life. Two strikingly grace-filled examples are when God forgave Paul of murdering Christians because he, "did it in ignorance, in unbelief" (1 Timothy 1:13). God also "winked" at the ignorance of the Gentiles (Acts 17:30). God’s grace prevails because He knew the vital physical, spiritual and emotional benefits of giving and receiving forgiveness.
Dr. Archibald Hart, a Christian doctor, in his book, “Adrenaline and Stress” refers to the positive impact of forgiveness and the damage that comes from unforgiveness. He succinctly and powerfully stated, "Forgive we MUST or SELF-DESTRUCT!” Let us pray together…
Loving Forgiving Father God, we are in awe of Your ability to forgive us (Colossians 2:13) and thank You that You are ready to forgive (Luke 15:11-32). Lord, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Help us to choose to forgive, making it a lifestyle change. Help us in accepting a person as he or she is and to be willing to accept an authentic and sincere apology when offered.
The fresh hope, peace and relief that comes to our heart from being forgiven is immeasurable and priceless! Thank You for this transformative gift of Your nature directed towards us to be renewed! We love, adore, praise and worship You in spirit and truth! Thank You for this blessed assurance of forgiveness! Forgive us for being slow to forgive others. We ask for Your will to be done in us and for others. We pray for the glory of God on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ Name, amen.