Thursday, January 22, 2009

Week of Prayer - Thursday

Pray for Forgiveness and a Pure Heart

Psalm 51:9-11 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

"If the Christian does not allow prayer to drive sin out of his life, sin will drive prayer out of his life. Like light and darkness, the two cannot dwell together." M.E. Andross

In her book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom tells how her family sheltered Jews in their home in Amsterdam during the Second World War. They were found out and sent to a Nazi concentration camp. Corrie was the only one to survive the war and, after it, she committed herself to working for forgiveness.

Following one of her talks, a man came forward to thank her. It was a former guard from the camp, one who had been particularly cruel to her beloved sister, Betse. Corrie froze as he reached out his hand, unable to return the gesture.

Anger and resentment raged within her as memories from the camp flooded her mind. Then, she silently prayed, "Jesus, I cannot forgive this man. Give me your forgiveness." Through that prayer, she was given the grace to forgive.

Sometimes in our lives, this may be all we can do. Forgiveness may not be humanly possible, but as we read on Tuesday, with God, all things are possible. Forgiveness is a grace and a power which outstrips human understanding.

God who forgives, I ask your forgiveness for my own sin. My faults and failures are sometimes more than I can bear. Create in me a clean heart, and help me to make wise and good choices today.

I need your mercy and grace in order to forgive those who have hurt or wronged me, but I know I must do it. Like Corrie ten Boom, I ask, "Lord give me your forgiveness."

As I seek to walk in forgiveness toward others, may I also learn to forgive myself.

Ah, Lord God, that is usually the hardest of all.

I forgive others. I forgive myself. Thank you for your abundant supply of mercy! Amen


LoieJ said...

Unforgiveness only makes us prisoners. Forgiveness is freeing, but as you say, often can't be accomplished without God's help and grace. It isn't a one time, forgive and its over thing. Jesus said 7 X 70 and we take that to be symbolic, but I take it as literal, we need to practice the forgiveness over and over, and little by little we are freed from the prison of the bitterness that imprisons us if we don't do that.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

I think you are exactly right. Forgivness is often a process--there is a person I've probably forgiven 100 times or more, and perhaps I will keep on till I leave this world! But I am determined not to live in bitterness.

Anonymous said...

I need a lot of that mercy.

BTW, I've nominated you for a Friends Award over at my blog.

Anonymous said...