Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 2/20

Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 2/20

Would any of us be so bold
    as to stand before God and say:
       Lord, love me 
        – in the just the same way you see me love others…
       Lord, take care of me 
        – in just the same way you see me care for others…
       Lord, forgive me 
        – in just the same way you see me forgive others…

I don’t think any of us would be bold or foolish enough to pray that way 
    and yet, every time we say the Lord’s prayer, we pray:

       Forgive us our trespasses,

          as we forgive those who trespass against us…
 And then Jesus elaborates:
    If you forgive other people when they sin against you, 
        your heavenly Father will also forgive you.   
    But if you do not forgive others their sins, 
        your Father will not forgive your sins.

God’s mercy is offered to every one –
without exception
    and God calls everyone  – without exception –
to be merciful to all
    as God is merciful to each of us…

Now, let’s Pause for Prayer:

Lord of mercy,     
    what you ask of me here
        sometimes seems impossible!
Do you really expect me to be merciful to someone
   who’s hurt me?  ignored me?  betrayed me?
   abandoned me?  taken me for granted? 
   blamed me for things I didn’t do? 
   used me? misjudged me?
But even as I pray those words 
    I think of the times
       when I’ve hurt you… ignored you… betrayed you…
       abandoned you… taken you for granted…
       blamed you for things you didn’t do…
       used you and misjudged you…
And for all these sins and failings,
    you stand ready to offer me mercy… 
As I need you to forgive me,      
    so must I forgive those 
        who’ve offended me…
This mercy business isn’t easy, Lord!
My heart nurses anger
    resentments and grudges 
while your heart spills over 
    with kindness and mercy,
answering my prayer
    when I ask for your pardon…
When I find it almost impossible, Lord,
   to forgive and to pardon with mercy,
make me mindful of all you’ve forgiven me,     
    and open my heart to others
        as you’ve opened yours to me…