Closing the Gap 7.10.18

By July 10, 2018 Daily Devotional

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Week 27 Day 2

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Matt. 6:9-13 This, then, is how you should pray: “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, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Reflect:

Often we pray for things not knowing for sure if they are God’s will and our will or only our will.  If they are only our will, then we must learn to pray, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).  Because, in the end, we “want to want” what God wants. But here in the model prayer, we have clear guidance on what God wills for us.  We can ask God to “forgive our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” and we know that it is done. His answer to this request will always be, “Yes.”  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).  Can we be sure that it is his will to forgive our sins if we ask? Look at what John wrote earlier in his letter: “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).  So yes, we can pray with confidence to be forgiven, knowing that when we do we are praying in line with God’s will. That being said, it is important to remember the whole context of this prayer. The prayer is, “forgive us as we have forgiven others.”  Again, this is not about earning forgiveness it is about living as one who has been forgiven.  The one condition for forgiveness is repentance.  Repentance literally means a “change of mind,” but a real change of mind leads to a change of heart and life direction.  The reason repentance is a condition of forgiveness is because without it we do not really want what forgiveness brings to us.  Forgiveness from God brings restored relationship with God. Sin is doing things our own way; it is living in opposition to the will and ways of God.  Think about it, how could we be forgiven (have restored relationship with God) if we do not repent (desire relationship with God)? You can ask God to forgive your sins and you can be sure he will do so.  But this is not merely a “get out of jail free” card where we desire to be disconnected from our actions and attitudes so that we will not be held to account for them. This is a prayer for relationship. Our sins break fellowship with God, while our confession leads to restoration with God.  Ultimately we must be learning to confess because we love God, not merely because we fear punishment. If we are secure in our faith, we know that we have escaped condemnation. Since we have received this great gift of salvation, our hearts long for intimacy with God. Our sins are a wedge between God and us.  We know that God wants that wedge removed because he wants relationship with us, and all that remains is for us to want what he wants and to ask, “Forgive us our debts.” When you ask, he will answer you: “Done!”

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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