“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Don’t wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving; you will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made and Satan has lost his place. Freedom is what will be gained, not a feeling.
As you pray, God may bring to mind offending people and experiences you have totally forgotten. Let Him do it even if it is painful. Remember, you are doing this for your sake; God wants you to be free. Don’t rationalize or explain the offender’s behavior.
Forgiveness is dealing with your pain and leaving the other person to God. Positive feelings will follow in time; freeing yourself from the past is the critical issue right now.
Don’t say, “Lord, please help me to forgive,” because he is already helping you. Don’t say, “Lord, I want to forgive,” because you are bypassing the hard-core choice to forgive, which is your responsibility. Stay with each person until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain—what they did, how they hurt you, how they made you feel (rejected, unloved, unworthy, dirty).
Forgive these people so that you can be free in Christ. They no longer have any control over you. For each person, pray aloud:
Lord, I forgive ___________________________________ for __________________________________.
–Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for communicating with you in his inspired Word. Thank him for providing a “lamp to [your] feet and a light to [your] path” (Ps. 119:105). Confess any doubts you’ve harbored concerning the authority of God’s Word in your life. Commit yourself to treasuring the words of God more than daily bread (Job 23:12). Ask God to feed you spiritually as you look to his Word for guidance throughout this week.
Think of one specific family. Pray that this family would set aside time every day for family devotions and prayer. Ask God to make this practice a blessing in their family life.