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  • Dr. Gil Stieglitz

Secrets of the Lord's Prayer: Mourning the Pain, Wounds, and Hurts of Your Past


"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." (Matt. 6:12)

We are in the middle of a series within a series. We are mining the depths of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' instruction on prayer to the disciples. There is so much richness and depth in these few verses that need to be unpacked to truly understand what Jesus was getting at. I decided to write a book about it, and well, here we are. Matthew 6:12 is the Master's lesson on forgiveness. It's a process to go through but it is absolutely critical to get there in order to have that deep, intimate relationship with God that so many of us crave.

We have learned so far that there is more to the process of forgiveness than just saying "Forgive me," or "I'm sorry," and that it begins with confession of our own sins and trespasses. We also learned that bitterness destroys and we should leave vengeance to the Lord. For past articles in this series, simply click HERE.

Knowing that a lack of forgiveness will not allow us to go deeper in relationship with God, let's cover another area:

3. Mourning the pain, wounds, and hurts of your past.

Going deep with God and working through forgiveness will involve mourning the wounds of the past that altered your future. Jesus tells us that we need to process the pain of the realities of our world to move forward by mourning what could have been, what we've lost, and what went wrong -- "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Matt 5:4) Many of us need to have discussions with God about unfair treatment, broken relationships, lost opportunities, abuse, and the injustices we've experienced. These issues are not handled in one discussion within a few minutes. This requires a long discussion with God, and sometimes these may be heated, as we do not see why this had to happen. Rest assured, God can handle our heat and is not put off by it. I always deeply enjoy the discussion between Jeremiah and God in Jeremiah 15 where the prophet calls God a liar and deceptive and wants to know what God is going to do about the promises He made! (Jer 15:15-21)

I have often encouraged people to go out to a park, the ocean, any solitary place, and cry out to God about the pain and hurt that is in you because of what happened. When there is pain in your soul, it needs to come out. Sometimes, it is expressed in crying, sometimes in yelling and shouting, sometimes in running, strenuous work, or even cleaning. The Jewish time table for mourning was at least forty days following the loss of a loved one. The person was not expected to be normal or even in communication with his normal friends for that length of time in order to deal with the loss. Our culture wants to be done with pain, loss, and wounds in four minutes! It is just not healthy or possible. Take the time to wallow in the difficulties of the loss and pain.

Abraham Lincoln had a favorite method for dealing with pain and loss that we can learn from. Take a piece of paper and write a letter to the person expressing everything you really feel and want to say with all the strength, emotion, and venom that you feel. You won't send this letter, but you need to get your emotions outside of you. I usually suggest that the letter be destroyed in a few hours or days after it has been written. We have the record of many letters in Lincoln's desk that were never sent because they didn't need to be once he got his pain and disappointment out of his soul.

This is all a part of your prayer time in which you talk to God about all that you are feeling and experiencing. In the midst of tragedy, our emotions are like a tornado which swirls around in our soul, changing from one emotion to the next within a few moments. We are not able to really understand all that we feel except that it is strong emotions and they are always in flux. God is not expecting you to have the answers or even be open to His answers; He just wants to be a part of your process. If you do not get these hurts out of your soul, they will begin to warp the person you are really supposed to become. Stuffed emotions and pain will twist us and they will find their way to the outside world in some way. It is better to bring it out in writing, discussions, prayer, singing, and/or sharing with trusted friends.

I hope you will take some time to allow yourself to truly mourn so you can become the person God really wants you to become. Connect with me on this! I would love to hear about some of your new revelations and how God has impacted your life in this area. Feel free to reach out to me at info@ptlb.com. Remember, your greatest life is just ahead.

In His service,

Gil Stieglitz

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