Read Matthew 6:9-15
My brother-in-law Sam, a minister in Armagh, says that ’Thank you, sorry and please’ are gospel words. Christians should be good at saying all of them – not only in prayer, but in our everyday interactions – and it’s often challenging to think about how little we do say them.
When was the last time you said ’thank you’ to someone? Expressing genuine gratitude for what you were blessed by?
When was the last time you said ‘sorry’ to someone? Admitting your fault with responsibility and vulnerability?
When was the last time you said ‘please’ to someone? Dignifying them by recognising their place of provision towards you?
When was the last time you didn’t say one of these things, but you should have?
In the Lord’s Prayer, there’s a wide range of prayer concerns – God as our parent, God’s glory and majesty, His Kingdom to expand, us having what we need for a day, avoiding temptation – but the thing that Jesus zooms in and comments on is forgiveness – our need to both receive it, and give it. It is a fundamental rhythm of Christian life. Forgiveness is the air we breathe, in and out. We breathe in God’s forgiveness, and exhale our forgiveness of others. Jesus says, you can’t have one without the other.
So whilst I encourage us to think about how much we’re expressing the gospel language of ’thank you’ and ‘please,’ I particularly encourage us to think about how much we’re speaking ’sorry’ and ’that’s okay.’ Jesus went the way of the cross to give us this way of life.
Father, to you I say thank you… I say sorry… and I say please…. I’m accustomed to framing my prayers like that; help me to deepen in prayer in all these expressions. But help me also to frame my interactions with others with these words too. Help me not to hold back all three phrases in my conversations. Let us discover gospel freedom that comes with life like this.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.