Prayer for Forgiveness
We apologize Lord for the uncleanness we’ve harboured and even nurtured as well as the overt acts of wickedness we’ve engaged in.
We apologize for our bitterness and smugness, for our curled lips and the contempt with which we’ve received strugglers against sin. A contempt we’ve shamefully nurtured and even justified.
We repent of our arrogance; an arrogance that led us to think we’re wise enough to know the whole story, wise enough to lump all sinners together, “knowing” there was no genuineness in the repentance of any of them. Taking their frequent moral losses as proof of their unrepentant heart rather than construing them as proof that they’re fighting an awful battle for spiritual survival. We apologize Lord because you pour out the warmth of your grace on us even while in our spite we often withhold our sunshine from those who shiver in the dark of their sin, lonely and cold and despairing.
We repent for keeping our rain from falling on hot fevered souls who burn with shame—keeping it from them because they aren’t quite to our liking and giving it, when we do, only to those who grovel in our presence or ceaselessly carry themselves as if they are second class citizens.
We apologize for our satisfaction with the shallowness and selectivity of our love to others when yours is fathomless and universal.
We apologize that our cheerful commitment to love and righteousness is so fitful when yours is changeless and for the grudging way we offer forgiveness, the cool way we offer fellowship, the stiff way we greet the returned or returning prodigal when you greet all of us which such rejoicing and generosity.
We apologize for the self-satisfaction and self-congratulation we feel when we look in the mirror and we repent that we’ve narrowed your demand on our lives to the “manageable proportions” of loving those who love us which hides the fact that we fail by justifying our refusal to extend love to enemies and to bless those that curse us and to do good to those that despitefully use us and all while we congratulate ourselves on our moral maturity.
Forgive us for comparing ourselves too favourably with others and refusing to compare ourselves with Christ who shows us all to be shabby at best.
Forgive us for taking the credit when it happens to be true that we are more devoted than some others. Forgive us for not taking seriously your question: “Who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”
Forgive us when we impatiently dismiss the crushing disadvantages of those whose moral struggle shows less success than ours even while their struggle is a nobler and braver struggle than our own.
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.