March 06, 2023

What We're Praying

Devotion for the Week...

I’m not good at small talk, especially with people I don’t know. Years ago, when my boys were little, our church hosted the Watoto Children’s Choir and our children’s program kids and their parents had supper with the choir. When everyone was seated, our table was me, my three boys, a couple of kids from the choir and one of the choir’s male chaperones, and no one seemed to know what to say. Ours was the quietest table in the whole room. It was so awkward!
Even if they’re good at small talk, a lot of people struggle with knowing what to say when they pray. Even the disciples didn’t know what to say when talking to God, which makes them pretty relatable, doesn’t it? When they asked Jesus to teach them, He gave them what is known as The Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father in heaven,
   may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
   as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
   as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
   but rescue us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:9-13)
What I find interesting about the prayer is that Jesus included that line about us forgiving the people who have sinned against us. Not only that, but He said, ‘forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven’ them. Oh, dear. Do we really want to be forgiven the same way we’ve forgiven others?
I want to point out that God’s forgiveness of our sins is NOT conditional on how we forgive others, just so there’s no confusion. It wouldn’t be grace if we had to do something to earn it, remember. The fact that Jesus used this phrase in a prayer meant to teach His disciples how to pray does beg the question - why?
I wonder if He included it so we would be continually acknowledging that we have a responsibility to forgive others. We ask for forgiveness, while affirming our commitment to give forgiveness, all in the same breath.
In the Lord's Prayer,  we ask for forgiveness, while affirming our commitment to give forgiveness, all in  the same breath |
The challenge for us, then, is to be conscious of what we’re praying rather than just saying the words mindlessly. And then, of course, to follow through on what we’ve prayed by forgiving when we are hurt or wronged.


  1. Thanks for another thought-provoking devtional. I appreciate each one.

  2. That line is the most difficult part of the Lord's prayer for me - I realize how far off the mark I often am. Thankfully, God reminds me (often!) of His grace


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