by Pastor Peter Bean
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Forgive us our sins, as we forgive everyone who has wronged us (Luke 11:4).
I am not that keen on prayer. I know that as a Lutheran pastor, that might get me labelled a heretic! Oh well. Looking at the devotional readings for this week, they are all about prayer! I had a little chuckle about the irony and God’s sense of humour!
But it got me thinking. What is prayer about? What do we seek when we pray? What do we hear (if we listen at all when praying)? What do we expect?
And I got to the point that perhaps prayer is actually about knowing we are forgiven, living in grace and forgiving others! How often do we pray for forgiveness? Obviously, in this petition of the Lord’s prayer, and if you attend a church with a communal confession, possibly once a week. But that confession time can be sterile and not so meaningful.
So, is praying about forgiveness and living well (or abundantly)? Any psychologist, and hopefully any Christian, will be able to tell you that unforgiveness is not healthy. And that to know you are forgiven by God and able to forgive others enables you to live abundantly (even if God has a different idea to me of what that means!).
Perhaps the answers we receive to prayer – sometimes what we ask for, occasionally being sent in a different direction by God, sometimes a no or a not yet – are about much more than what we are asking for. Perhaps prayer brings us closer to the living God, the cosmic Christ who lives in each one of us, to the reality of the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps the answers are about knowing we are forgiven, living in the gracious love of our Saviour, being freed to love abundantly and knowing that what God provides and does not provide is sufficient for us.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not downplaying the significance or power of prayer. But perhaps prayer becomes even more meaningful as it is encircled in grace and nurtured in a forgiving spirit.
Ha! Ha! God of laughter, help us know your forgiveness and live abundantly in your grace. Amen.
Peter is often out tending his garden – with 83 fruit and nut trees and extensive native bushes, he says there is a lot to do! Other times, he will be walking his dog, reading (too many books at a time), enjoying his family (15 grandchildren!), and occasionally writing – poetry, opinion pieces, devotions! To keep out of mischief, he is currently teaching himself to play the piano and is writing a paraphrase of each psalm. You can read these on his website, Creative Walking.