Devotion: Pray for the Power of Forgiveness in Your Life
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
— Isaiah 1:18
We’ve all experienced that moment of dreadful realization, the awareness that we have absolutely, undeniably, royally messed up.
What now? Will we yield to the powerful fight-or-flight response flooding our minds and bodies? (“I may be wrong, but you were, too!”) Or will we collapse inward, playing emotional possum until the perceived danger passes? (“Huh? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”)
I’m sorry to say I’ve done both. And I’m not just being passive-aggressive when I say I suspect you’ve done the same.
What about when we’re the ones who’ve been wronged? It almost feels like we’re hardwired with a desire for revenge and restitution. We want justice, and we want it now!
Resisting Christ’s still, small voice – the gentle invitation, “Come now, let’s settle this,” barely audible in the emotional whirlwind – never ends well. Let’s not go there.
Instead, stop. Listen to the One Who cherishes everyone involved in this situation. Yield to the Spirit and embrace the power of God’s forgiveness. Allow His restorative love to flow through you, whether you are asking for forgiveness or are the one offering it.
Hurt comes in all sizes, from accidental oversights to masterminded mayhem. In the worst of situations, it may take everything we have and more to request or accept forgiveness. God understands and, if we will allow Him, will help close the gap we seem unable to bridge ourselves.
During World War II, concentration camp survivor Corrie ten Boom suffered many atrocities, including the death of her beloved sister, Betsie. Years later, Corrie, by then a well-known author, came face to face at one of her public appearances with the Nazi SS guard who had tormented her and Betsie. Now a Christian, he offered his hand to Corrie, asking her to forgive his cruel deeds, as God had already done.
She froze. This man was directly responsible for her sister’s death. There was no way she could forgive him!
But it was time to settle this, and she yielded to the Spirit’s prompting. Tentatively reaching out to her enemy, Corrie felt the power of God’s forgiveness shoot through her. It flooded her entire being and she tearfully forgave him, accepting this brother in Christ with all her heart.*
Is there something that needs to be settled in your own life?
Related Scriptures: Romans 12:18, 2 Chronicles 7:14
- How does one live in peace with everyone?
- How has the forgiveness that Christ has offered you changed your attitude toward those who have wronged you?
- What “lands” (see 2 Chronicles 7:14) has the Lord restored in your life since you accepted His forgiveness?
Prepare the Atmosphere
Prepare the environment for prayer, perhaps with some quiet, instrumental praise music.
Our focus for this month is on the Power of Forgiveness.
Read: Romans 4:7
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
Pray: God of heaven, we bless You today and thank You that You are a patient, long-suffering, and forgiving God. The psalmist said, “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?” (Psalm 130:3) How blessed we are that You forgive and do not keep a record of our sins! Thank You for the promise that if we confess our sins, You are faithful and just to forgive them.
- For His mercy and grace
- For making a way for us to be forgiven
- For saving you and giving you eternal life
Pray for Your Group’s Upcoming Outreach Event
Read: Matthew 18:21-35
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.
“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
“But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
“His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
“When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Pray: Oh Lord, in the prayer You taught Your disciples, it says, “and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” You were saying that we will be forgiven in the same way we forgive others. Father, You know us intimately and You know if any of us are harboring unforgiveness in our hearts against someone else, maybe even someone on this Planning Team. Do Your work in us to be able to release that offense and forgive.
Give a couple of minutes for silent prayer, searching your own hearts.
- The specifics of your upcoming event
- That the lost will hear the Gospel and respond to Jesus
- That the love of God will be felt and communicated in everything that is done and said
Sharing Your Faith
Read: Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Pray: Oh Holy Spirit, we ask that You come on us with power. Move our hearts to compassion for the lost in a brand new way than we have ever been moved before. Do a new work in us that compels us to open our mouths and tell others about Your saving grace.
- Conscious awareness of people around us who need Jesus
- Courage to speak
- Expanded territory – reaching beyond our comfort zone
- The harvesting of many more souls
Pray for our Nation and Leaders
Read: Luke 11:17 (NIV)
Jesus … said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.”
Pray: Heavenly Father, we are a kingdom (a nation) divided against itself. The division is as deep as it has ever been. Forgive us for sometimes participating and allowing ourselves to be caught up in the fray. Forgive us for spending more time fussing and arguing about things than praying about them or getting involved in a solution.
- Be a light rather than spread more darkness
- Be part of the solution rather than the problem
- Remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against evil forces that are at work in this world
- Remember that “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1, NKJV)
Pray for Stonecroft
Read: Isaiah 54:2 (NIV)
Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
Pray: Mighty God, in 2019 we are asking that You show us when, where, and how to “enlarge the place of our tent and stretch out our tent curtains.” Another version of this verse says, “spare no expense.” We ask for Your abundant provision for Your work and that those who can give, will give generously. Help us to “strengthen our stakes,” those things that have held this ministry strong these past 80 years, like focusing on the lost, disciplining believers, and praying.
- God’s plan for the rest of 2019
- Expanded influence both here in the U.S. and abroad
- New life in the Women’s Connection Groups that are waning
- An abundance of workers in the harvest
- Many more salvations
Pray for Stonecroft Military
(Note: Periodically, we’ll be adding prayer requests associated with the outreaches featured in the Friends of Stonecroft script for that month. This allows us to support God’s work through specific prayer, in addition to finances.)
During this month’s Friends of Stonecroft time, we hear about our National Military Team.
- The 52 servicewomen in Boot Camp who prayed for the first time to choose Jesus as their “Battle Buddy” so they wouldn’t have to face the challenges of military life alone. Also remember the nine others who rededicated their lives to Christ.
- The National Military Team – Teasia Levin, Tammy Ortung, Barbara Vernoski, and Debbie Harrell – for health, protection, family, and funding.
- Volunteer growth across the country.
- Ways to meet child care needs at the local events, especially for ages 1 through 5.
- Access to additional bases and posts, so they share the Gospel with more servicewomen and military wives.
Pray for Stonecroft Staff
- Pray for me as I continue to learn and train staff on the capabilities of our new computer software. Pray that we will use it effectively to help spread the Gospel.
- Pray as we continue follow-up efforts from the Where Love Lives livestream and small groups. Pray that we will hear of many women beginning a relationship with Jesus and growing in their personal relationships.
- Ask God to fill me with His wisdom and joy to better serve Him and the volunteers at Stonecroft.
- Pray for the field directors and their families, for balance and peace, as they approach a busy season in outreach and ministry.
- Pray for health, strength in relationship, and growth in relationship with God for me and the Field team.
- Prayer for my 83-year-old mom in assisted living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Pray for her clarity of mind for the remaining days she has left here.
- Prayer for my 80-year-old father with dementia but still living independently. Pray that he will be open to help coming into his home to care for him and for clarity of mind for his remaining days.
- Prayer for my beautiful, newborn granddaughter, Everleigh. Please pray that she will be raised up to be a woman of God and a strong spiritual leader in the family.
Pray for All DFDs:
Read: 1 Chronicles 4:10
He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.
Pray: Oh Lord, Jabez prayed that You would bless him, expand his territory, be with him in all that he did, and that You would keep him from trouble and pain. You answered that prayer for him and we ask for the same thing for our DFDs.
- Increased influence
- Multiplied blessings in their work and homes
- Divine appointments
- Freedom from sickness for themselves and their families
- New, bright ideas to reach more women for Jesus
- Work/life balance
Stonecroft Board of Directors
Read: James 1:5
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
Pray: Father, the women on our Board are such industrious women. They hold a number of different roles within Stonecroft, but probably the most weighty of those is their service on our Board.
- They would have wisdom in all decisions
- They would have discernment about the issues at hand
- They would maintain their health
- They would have strength for each task
- They would take time to rest and have their souls restored
Stonecroft International Partners
Read: Psalm 22:27
The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
Pray: Oh Holy God, it is our desire that all the nations bow down and recognize You as Lord and King. We want Stonecroft to be a bright and shining light in the darkest corners of our world.
Pray for our partners in an East African country (where there is some persecution of Christians):
- A stronger economy – many struggle to have enough to eat
- Medication and supplies for their ministry to the orphans
- That Stonecroft Bible Studies groups will grow – especially the couples’ groups so that they will have stronger families
- Financial support
- Pastors as they travel from village to village to share the Gospel
- Favor with governing authorities
Share Personal Requests
Pray for each other and any personal requests of your group.
Lord, thank You for forgiving our sins. We know we don’t deserve it, yet we humbly and gratefully receive your abundant grace and mercy. Help us, oh Lord, as we forgive those around us, so others will be drawn to You when they see our actions of love and forgiveness. In Your name, Amen.
*Note: Paraphrased from Corrie ten Boom, with Jamie Buckingham, Tramp for the Lord. (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1975), and also found as audio files on the internet.