Lord, Please Hear Our Prayers

Lord, Please Hear Our Prayers

by Tom Norvell

Father, please hear the prayers we offer.

Lord, please take away the sadness.  We are hurting. We are weary. There are days we cannot remember what joy felt like. Our hearts have been broken. We sometimes wonder if you really care … and if you are really there.  We are not sure how much we can bear.  So, in our sadness we pray, “Father, restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Lord, please take away the fear.  There’s so much happening that we don’t understand.  We struggle with the uncertainty.  We struggle to find confidence.  We are looking for reasons for hope. So, in our times of fear we pray, “Father, walk with us and hold us in Your strong hands.”

Lord, please take away the disappointment.  Too often we’ve put our trust in people; too often we watch them fail.  We put our hope in things; and things never last.  With each disappointment our hearts grow sicker as our hopes slowly seem to fade in the darkness.  So, in our disappointment we pray, “Father, help us to be faithful to You, and never forget Your promise to be faithful in all things.”

Lord, please take away the doubt. Deep in our hearts we know you care.  In the depths of our souls we know You are always near.  At times our faith is weak and our confidence is depleted.  So, in times of doubt we pray, “Father, open our eyes and open our ears.”

Lord, please take away the anger.  We are not by nature angry people.  But, there are times when the anger waits just beneath the surface to erupt at just the wrong moment. We don’t want that anger to take root in our hearts.  We want to let go of it and harbor no resentment.  We want to forgive.  So, in our anger we pray, “Father, forgive us as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”

Lord, please take away the hurt.  The hurts … well, they hurt.  The hurt seems to never end.  Pain is all around us.  Not just us, but people all around us are crying for relief.  So in our times of hurting we pray for Your healing hand to rest upon us, and to feel Your comforting Spirit within us, and that someday we might understand.

Lord, take away the loneliness.  There are times when loneliness almost completely overwhelms us.  We long for relationship.  We long for friendship.  We long for love.  We know You are always with us.  We know your love is real.  But, sometimes, Lord, we need someone we can touch, someone we can see, and someone we can feel.  So, in our loneliness we pray, “Fill us, Lord, with Your presence.”

Father, thank you for restoring joy to us, for calming our fears, for reassuring us of Your faithfulness, for opening our eyes and ears to the certainty of Your, for forgiving us of our sins, for healing us of our hurts, and for filling us with Your presence.  We love you.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.                          (Philippians 4:6-7)

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The peace of forgiving

“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
― Lewis B. Smedes

Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts we Don’t Deserve” by Lewis B Smedes, is probably the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of forgiveness.

The impact it had on my life was a sense of freedom and release from the bondage of the inability to forgive.  I knew that it was the right thing to do, and I would often get to the point where I thought I could forgive, and then I would stop.

Nope! in my mind, I didn’t want to give the other person the privilege of my forgiveness.  I wanted them to feel the pain that I had felt! Maybe even more!

The reality of it is this, it just doesn’t work like that.

Anyone who is cruel enough to cause pain and not ask for forgiveness after the fact, does not feel any guilt or pain by our resistance to forgive them.  Their life goes on, and they probably continue in the same vein of hurting others.

They are not even giving a second thought to the deed done to me. But my life becomes consumed by unhealthy emotions.  I become conflicted with my own guilt over the unwillingness to forgive, and the bitterness and anger caused by the hurt and the pain.

I learned that the act of forgiveness does not mean that I can or should forget, nor is it required of me to forget. However, forgiveness is still required. It doesn’t mean that I never experienced the pain and the hurt, and it doesn’t mean that I will never remember it again. What it means is that I have made the choice to forgive.

And in choosing to forgive, I move forward with new hope and peace in my heart. I can’t excuse, tolerate or forget, I can only forgive.  And in forgiving, I am released from the bondage of guilt and bitterness.

(Interesting note, Lewis B Smedes died on this day in 2002.  I had no knowledge of this until today.  I am thankful for his insight into a very painful subject.  He certainly had an impact on my life.)