The Lord’s Prayer – Forgive Us

Do you think timing is ‘everything?’

Do you think the Lord’s word speaks directly into our personal, family, community and world events? I do.

Yesterday, I came to the index sentence

Forgive us our debts

Yesterday, the world economy buckled under the news that the United States credit rating had been down-graded from AAA to AA+. The US stock market plunged the greatest amounts since the 2008 financial crisis.

As an expatriate in South Africa, instead of getting the US spin on the latest current affairs, we hear the African point of view. Rather than repeat these opinions, all I can say is that it is a pretty humbling experience to be an expatriate in a foreign country. As a result of this financial situation and how it is affecting the global economy and after writing about ‘forgive us our debts’ yesterday, I felt led to write something more about this index sentence.

 Forgive US our debts

Yesterday’s post was personal. As we pray, we have the opportunity to lay out our personal debts, sins, and transgressions before our Lord. Today, though, I want to focus upon our collective debt. The Old Testament priests, prophets and kings understood that to pray to their God was not only a time to admit personal sin, but also to confess national transgressions.

It’s easy to cast blame upon political leaders for our national woes. It’s easy to judge and it’s easy to be angry when political leaders don’t necessarily do what we think they should do. Criticism is easy. Really, it is. Our accusations can be harsh; especially when we are afraid for our future.

We live in uncertain times.

Honestly, though, please think about this, we are always living with uncertainty. There are no guarantees about anything in life, other than our mortality. If our security is placed upon our finances, upon our jobs, upon our social security, upon our investment portfolio or any other monetary promise, then the financial news probably puts us in a tailspin. It’s scary to realize that the ground we’ve been building upon is shaky ground.

I believe the recent state of financial affairs presents us with an incredible opportunity. Instead of choosing to condemn and criticize, what would happen if we chose to confess our part in our debt-riddled nation and then pray for forgiveness? Instead of choosing to be angry and mean, what would happen if we prayed with sincerity and with empathy for our national leaders? Instead of choosing to be afraid, we chose to place our fears in the care of our God and trust Him for tomorrow?

Honestly, I believe that we have a unique opportunity and a unique responsibility to take time to ask forgiveness for our nation and to pray for it like never before! What would happen if every church in the US took time on Sunday morning to confess our transgressions as a nation and ask forgiveness?
Forgive us our debts, O Lord

You see, sin separates. Sin is a barrier between us and our God. Our Lord cannot overlook sin. He is a holy God. Unconfessed sin prevents us from experiencing the incredible forgiveness, peace, love, confidence and grace found in our Lord and Savior. Instead, we feel the shame, fear, bitterness, anger, etc. as we fail to address a sin issue in our lives, as we continue to accuse and to sink into fear’s pit.

I would encourage us, myself included, to read and meditate upon the following Scriptures. May we ask our Lord to show us areas, particularly in this recent, national financial crisis, to seek our Lord’s forgiveness for ourselves and for our nation. If we are angry or afraid about our nation’s financial future, this is the time to pray and to trust our God as we seek Him solely for His help. Confess our fear and confess our need.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13

Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19

For the eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil. 1 Peter 3:12

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Our Father in heaven

Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us our debts

*photo by Shook Photos

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