WELCOME TO WEEK 3: THE WAY OF FORGIVENESS
The Unforgiving Servant
Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant tells us that forgiveness is not a religious rule or obligation. It is not, first, an external behavior. It is an internal process of healing that happens in our hearts. As you practice giving and receiving forgiveness in your own life, may the love of Christ be your foundation and your guide, as you trust in God’s forgiveness to become, more and more, the life of Christ himself within you.
1. Prayerfully read Matthew 18:21-35 or click below to listen.
- Open your imagination to the Holy Spirit and enter into the story, allowing God to bring to mind anything that might be relevant for you today.
- Where in the story might God be inviting you to engage today?
- What words or aspects of the story connect with you?
- Keep these questions in mind as you engage in the weekly prayer practice today.
2. Practice Praying the Lord's Prayer.
The Lord’s prayer is a gift to us from Jesus, instructing us how to pray. This week, we are practicing the Lord’s Prayer as a pathway to connect with God. You can always use the Lord’s prayer just as it is written. You can also use the Lord’s prayer as an outline that guides you into the kinds of things you can talk to God about.
Use the prompts in italics to help you know what and how to pray. Answer the questions for yourself and let them lead you into further reflection and prayer. Throughout the week, allow the Holy Spirit to inspire and launch other questions, reflections and prayers.
Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name:
What does it mean to “hallow” or “honor as holy” the name of God?
Spend time honoring God, giving thanks for who he is and for what he’s done.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven:
Imagine, what would the world be like if God’s will was being put into action everywhere? Imagine, what would your life, your family, and your experience would look like if God’s will was being put into action everywhere?
Talk to God about the places where you desire His will to replace your will.
Pray for God’s will to be done in your home, in your church, in your community, in your nation, in God’s world.
Give us this day our daily bread:
God attends to the real, everyday needs of His people.
Talk to God about what you need most from Him today.
Ask God to meet the needs of the people around you.
Reflect on how God may be inviting you to help meet the needs in your community, in our world, in ways that bring care and provision to all of God’s children.
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us:
Jesus calls us to both forgive others and to receive forgiveness ourselves.
Is there anything you need to confess to the Lord in seeking forgiveness yourself?
Is there anyone in your life who you need God’s help to forgive?
Is there anyone who you need to seek forgiveness from?
Ask God to give you the courage and the strength to both receive forgiveness for yourself and to offer forgiveness to others.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
God calls us to live lives that are set apart and holy but temptations are always present.
With God’s help, can we choose to live differently—to be followers of Jesus?
What temptations do you need God to help you avoid?
What patterns of behavior do you need God to deliver you from?
Is there anyone God would lead you to pursue for support and encouragement in overcoming temptation in your life?
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
God’s kingdom is here, but not yet, and will reign forever.
Acknowledge and give thanks for the presence of the kingdom of God that is bringing health and wholeness to all people, including yourself.
Pray for God’s kingdom to come, more and more, in power and in glory, and for the goodness to be manifest in your life, in your community, and in the world.
3. Jot down any notes to keep a record of your journey.
- It doesn’t have to be “journaling.” Just capture any key thoughts, ideas, or challenges that come to mind during your time spent with God. This will allow you to track any recurring ideas or themes that God may want to guide you through.