Yesterday, I spoke of knowing the depth of possibility when asking God for something, i.e. deciding on the right question. Today that message is reiterated in the last few verses of a long, busy gospel. In Mark 11:24, Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.” My interest in that assurance is the following line, however. “When you stand to pray,” Jesus says, “forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance…”
Sometimes it’s very difficult to forgive a person especially if we have been deeply hurt. This morning I’m reminded, however, of the efficacy of repeated, intentional prayer. It really works to say things like Lord, please help me to forgive (this particular hurt from this particular person) because I’m having a hard time and with your help, I know I can do it. That kind of simple statement repeated consistently can pattern into us (in time) the willingness to be healed of the hurt and then to forgive the offender. People say it takes 29 days to form or change a habit. Perhaps that would be enough for us to become hospitable to forgiveness. It’s definitely worth a try. The caveat, though, is that we really – really – have to mean what we say, so the intention must be re-spoken each time we stand (or sit or kneel) to pray.