A Simple Prayer That Will Help You Prepare to Forgive
My freshly mopped laundry room floor was littered with dirt, pebbles, and a pair of muddy jeans. I didn’t need to examine the size of the weary garment in order to identify its owner. There was a little 9 year old fisherman in our family who had spent the day on our river in pursuit of trout. His name was Justin, and he belonged to me. He was that kid. The one you never found inside in summer. He spent every sunlit hour outside, using his pockets as a storage area for items he didn’t really have time to deal with, but he wasn’t willing to let them go. That day’s cache included an empty cocoon, a red and white daredevil lure, and a chunk of iron pyrite (fool’s gold.) He suddenly rushed in the door, his apparent enthusiasm melting my heart.
“Mom, look what I found today! And I didn’t even have to leave the river. I kept everything in my pockets, just so I could show you!”
But what happens when we have a pocket in our heart–a place where we hold the hurt and pain caused by someone we love?
I have a tendency to procrastinate and withhold forgiveness. It may start out as a strategy to let things cool off before we confront an issue. And yet, the longer we wait, the easier it is to wait. Suddenly, we are on the far side of a crevasse, not sure how to cross it in order to get back to our loved one. So we hold on. We fill our pocket. Anger, resentment, and pride rub against our relationship and begin to strip away its shine. We know it’s time to empty that damaging pouch of unforgiveness, but we may not know where to start.
We can place our foot on the path that will eventually lead to forgiveness beginning with a prayer. It’s ok if you feel this is all you can do for a while. You are just taking smaller steps towards the same result.
My relationship with our oldest daughter has been strained for quite a while. I’ll be honest, some days I am completely gutted over it.
In the beginning, my prayer was, “Dear God…” then I let Him finish the rest.
Next I advanced to, “I love her…”
I truly began to find a step towards reconciliation when my prayer changed to this:
I hope it gets you started, too.
“May the LORD bless you and keep you;
(I prayed for God’s protection for her.)
the LORD make His face shine on you
(I prayed for God’s presence for her.)
and be gracious to you
(I prayed for God’s unearned gift of grace for her.)
the LORD turn his face toward you
(I prayed for God’s renewed relationship with her.)
and give you peace.”
(I prayed for God’s rest for her troubled heart.)
Numbers 6: 24-26
I don’t know exactly who you may have in the pocket of your heart. I do know it is probably raw, and it feels like a risk to even acknowledge as you hold on to them like a treasure you don’t want to lose. It’s ok. After I pray my daughter, I’m going to start praying for you, too – that you will trust God’s intervention enough to start with one simple heartfelt plea. Remember, love and forgiveness are waiting for you on the other side of prayer.