Secrets of the Lord's Prayer: Living a Goal-directed Life to Get to Forgiveness
Updated: Feb 24, 2020
"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." (Matt. 6:12)
We are making our way through a mini-series within a series about how to walk through the process of forgiveness. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' instruction on prayer to the disciples cover forgiveness in one sentence, but I believe there is so much more to this lesson. This process of forgiveness is absolutely critical to get to a deep, intimate relationship with God that so many of us crave. 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 about getting to forgiveness:
3. How goals and purpose can help us forgive.
Working through forgiveness and being healthy after we have suffered wounds, guilt, and pain will involve discussions with God about the goals and purpose He still has for our life. Too many people hunker down into a hole permanently when injustice and selfish people derail their plans. Those who conquer the evil in their world start creating new goals and aim at new mountains to climb, and as a result, they move past the emotional and mental prisons that others want to capture them in. It is surely the plans of the devil to get us to wallow in our pain, guilt, and difficulties -- to give up on the righteousness that we could accomplish in the world. Most people need to work out with God why they are here on earth and what the weekly, monthly, yearly, and long-term goals are for their life. This all takes discussions with God, since He is the only one who truly knows us and knows what are future holds. These verses are two good ones to start with:
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28)
Put simply, they tell us that we are here for a reason, put here by God to carry out His purposes through us. His plans for us will be for our welfare and our good, not calamity or destruction. Our future is one of hope and promise. We will only overcome the slights that barge into our lives by working toward our goals and a sense of destiny.
Below are a series of questions for you to think through and answer, perhaps in a journal or even just talk over with another person. If you’ve never asked these questions and allowed yourself the time to commit to honest answers, this is as good a time as any. Answer the following questions:
1. “Why are you here?” “What is your purpose in life?”
We all have a purpose and God has a way for us to fulfill that purpose even if we have messed up in the past. One of the most liberating discussions that people have with themselves and with God is about getting back to what they were put on this earth to do. For some people, it is practicing medicine; for others, it is using their artistic abilities; for some, it is teaching; for some, it is mechanical; for some, it is homemaking; for others, it is business; and for some, it is being charitable. There are many different righteous pathways and purposes. All are needed to have a society that functions well and provides opportunities of others. Read Ephesians 2:10 and let these words sink in.
2. “What are your goals?”
One of the most helpful exercises that I have ever assigned to the people I mentor or counsel is what I call the “Five-year Idealization” exercise. This is a prayer exercise as much as a mental exercise. Take a blank sheet of paper and answer the question, “If my life were ideal in five years, what would it be like?” Look at 5-7 areas of life and write down as much as you can think of in each of the categories (Spiritual arena, Personal Development, Marriage and Family, Work and Career, Finances, Friends, Involvement in Society and Charity). Be as specific as you can be and realize that the first answers you put down may be discarded after you have done this exercise over a few months. The more you write, the better it gets. You don’t have to know how you are going to get there, in fact, pushing your thinking out five years is often the best way to turn off the “how” question. This exercise, and the growing list of ideas and goals, can form your prayer list over the next five years. It is amazing how many of these “dream ideas” God will send our way just because we took the time to write them down. Write down positive ideas, like “I want to be making a difference in public schools by teaching health,” not negative ones, like “I no longer think about what Andrew did to me.” Read Philippians 3:12-14 and let these words sink in.
It is only when you are headed to a positive place that you can truly move beyond the negativity of the past. Writing out your goals and talking with God about them on a regular basis will cause you to see how to accomplish them in ways you never considered. God moves to help you accomplish your righteous goals, as Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be satisfied,” (Matt. 5:6).
Other questions to think about:
“What are you good at?”
“What are the ways that you make a positive difference in the lives of others?”
“What brings you righteous joy and delight?”
"What do you want to be remembered for?"
I hope you will take some time to truly put thought, prayer, and pen to action when answering these questions. Focus on this exercise and allow your past to be in your past, and your future to be one of hope and promise. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
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