40-Day Prayer Challenge // Day 39
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Prayer prepared Jesus to carry out His Father’s will. If you allow prayer to be a head-on collision between your will and the Father’s will, it will do the same thing for you. Your will cannot survive a genuine encounter with God unless you choose to be a victim, rather than a victor over your will. When your will cries out to live, nail it to the cross, and crucify it.
- Jesus did: “It is finished” (John 19:30).
- Paul did: “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31).
- So can you.
Prayer equips you for spiritual warfare, not against flesh and blood, but against forces of evil. After Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, all hell broke loose. Expect it to happen to you, too.
After a long night of earnest prayer, the enemy launched a series of heart-rending and body-breaking attacks against Jesus, and those He loved. He was betrayed by Judas, deserted by His closest disciples, faced inquisition before the Sanhedrin, denied by Peter, beaten by Roman soldiers, had a crown of thorns placed on His head, mocked by Herod, proven guilty by Pontius Pilate, forced to listen to the noise of the fickle crowd, walked the long road up to Calvary, had His hands and feet nailed to the cross, and finally … was speared in the side and experienced death on the cross.
To the prayerless, attacks always appear senseless. They aren’t. The Romans had one purpose for the cross, not to teach the victim a lesson, but to kill them. It wasn’t remedial judgment, but a terminal sentence of death. The death of Jesus was not senseless. It was painful and priceless. With His blood, He paid in full the debt of sin.
On the cross, Jesus prayed, forgiving those who had wronged Him, and were not right with God. You should, too. When you are wronged by someone, but remain prayerless, you are tempted to say, “I OWE YOU ONE!”
Forgiveness refuses to owe anyone anything. Wipe out any IOU you are holding against someONE. There is payday someday for those who refuse God’s forgiveness, but He has not enlisted you to be His debt collector. Trust God to settle accounts. Live debt free and forgive others.
Easter Challenge: One day left until Easter. Choose to live debt free. Forgive someONE who has wronged you. Take up your own cross, and pray for someONE in your life who needs to be forgiven. Forgiving them doesn’t mean they are getting away with what they did wrong. It means you are letting go of what they did wrong, to be right with God.
Prayer for the Day: Father in Heaven, I take up my cross and follow Jesus all the way to the point of death, not to be forgiven for my sin, but to forgive the sin in someONE else. Allow me to live debt free as Your Spirit loosens my grip on my grievance, and I offer Your grace to others. In the name of Jesus, I pray. AMEN.
All of God’s answering our prayers is on the basis of God’s dealing with us as forgiven sinners, and God cannot deal with us as forgiving sinners while we are not forgiving those who have wronged us. —R.A.Torrey