A Prayer of Forgiveness

Peacemaker Ministry recently posted this prayer for Christians embroiled in conflict:

Oh Lord, you are so amazingly good to me! You sent your only Son to die for my sins, including those I have committed in this conflict. Because of Jesus I am forgiven, and my name is written in the Book of Life! You do not treat me as I deserve, but you are patient, kind, gentle, and forgiving with me. Please help me to do the same to others.

In your great mercy, you are also kind to my opponent. Although he has wronged me repeatedly, you hold out your forgiveness to him as you do to me. Even if he and I never reconcile in this life, which I still hope we will, you have already done the work to reconcile us forever in heaven. This conflict is so insignificant compared to the wonderful hope we have in you!

This conflict is so small compared to the many other things you are watching over at this moment, yet you still want to walk beside me as I seek to resolve it. Why would you stoop down to pay such attention to me? It is too wonderful for me to understand. You are extravagant in your gifts to me. You offer me the comfort of your Spirit, the wisdom of your Word, and the support of your church. Forgive me for neglecting these powerful treasures until now, and help me to use them to please and honor you.

I rejoice that these same resources are available to my opponent. Please enable us to draw on them together so that we see our own sins, remember the gospel, find common ground in the light of your truth, come to one mind with you and each other, and restore peace and unity between us.

Finally, Lord, I rejoice that this conflict has not happened by accident. You are sovereign and good, so I know that you are working through this situation for your glory and my good. No matter what my opponent does, you are working to conform me to the likeness of your Son. Please help me to cooperate with you in every possible way and give you the glory for what you have done and are doing.

A few notable observations:

  1. The prayer is honest. It doesn’t skirt around the conflict, neither sanitizing or neutering it. Plain and simple, it’s really bad.
  2. It repeatedly refers to the other party as an “opponent.” Again, this is refreshing, as an opponent is simply one who opposes or is against someone. Hence, it is right (even for the Christian) to think and pray this way.
  3. However, although the conflict with one’s opponent is pointed and painful, the greater reality is that we both have the same heavenly Father and Redeemer.
  4. The Christian ought always be–and subsequently express–gratitude to God, even in the midst of conflict. Has he not ordained (even foreordained!) all things for His glory and our good?
  5. Right theology governs our prayers–even in the midst of conflict.
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