How do you prepare for a very important piece of work? If it’s a presentation you will gather your materials, choose your media and rehearse. If it’s an exam you will study, revise and memorize. If it is a project you will gather the people, the budget and the plans.
Billions of people all over the world achieve amazing things through thorough preparation and I do not criticize this at all.
But is that enough? Do you want to echo the Son of Man’s words when he said “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do”? You may achieve amazing things but will they bring God’s glory on earth?
How do you prepare for the most important work you think you will ever do? Certainly you will do all in your power to prepare well. Perhaps you will include prayer in your preparation, but how will you pray?
WORKTALK and my ministry is built on specific foundations. First, that the cross of Christ was the ultimate work of Christ and that during those six hours the sentences that he spoke show you how he was handling his most intense piece of work.
I am going to look at part of this perfect model namely the part that speaks of prayer.
There are three prayers from the cross. These are the first, fourth and seventh sentences that the Son of Man spoke. If you listen, you have three prayers prayed at the most intense working moments in history. Let’s listen very carefully.
“Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”.
Given that he was nailed to wood in overwhelming pain its amazing he could speak at all, but speak he did and it was a prayer.
If your Lord could find the energy to pray when everything was stacked against him it encourages, or more accurately compels, you to find the energy pray in your work.
I have previously described this prayer as “the Father Prayer” for so it is as Jesus professes his identity, worth and values are all flowing from the Father.
For this piece, however, I will label it “The Forgiving Prayer”.
The six hours of the cross are starting and Jesus’ priority is to have no unforgiving thought in his head. He has been deserted, denied, betrayed, falsely accused and show trialed to execution where even his execution is vindictive.
He had every reason to be angry. But he would not hold it, he prayed forgiveness upon them.
So here’s the question at the heart of this piece for you.
As you prepare for work, especially the very important work in your life, do you start with a prayer of forgiveness? Jesus is revealing a powerful truth. Forgiveness will propel you in to what you must achieve. The Son of Man was entering into the battle with his greatest enemy and he knew that he could not enter the battle with any hint of anger, bitterness or revenge. He knew, as Paul would later write, that forgiveness outwits his enemy (2Cor. 2:9-11 ). Remember the Father and the Son are one. This prayer is an expression of Jesus’ own forgiveness as well as requesting that his Father forgive.
So please examine your heart as I do mine. Who must you forgive? Remember this edition is about prayer. It is a call to pray the Forgiving Prayer. This prayer opens the door for Gethsemane blood and tears to flow to the six hours on the cross, unhindered. It opens the door for all the Lord’s prayers to flow to the cross including his night vigil before appointing his team, his early morning vigils and his tender invocations of blessings.
With that prayer of forgiveness all the Son of Man’s previous prayers joined up to empower him for this moment of time.
When you hear a call to prayer you may not be nailed to a cross but you will need to summon your energy and pray the Forgiving Prayer.
That’s only if you want ultimate glory to go to your Lord from your life and work.
2 Cor 2:9-11
9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
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