Rediscovering Prayer

by Addison Bevere

May 3, 2024

Separator Words with God by Addison Bevere
Could this be why we struggle to pray?

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone . . .”

—Jesus

Would you do me a favor and take a deep breath? I mean a deep, deep breath. An inhale that makes you feel like you’re on the verge of exploding. Okay, hold that breath, don’t let any of it out.

Now, try your best to take another breath, without letting go of any air. You can’t do it, right? For us to breathe, we must inhale and exhale. (I know this is deep stuff.)

When it comes to prayer, forgiveness is air.

In Mark’s gospel, Jesus says “whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). Notice the words whenever, anything, and anyone—they leave no room for caveats. Jesus doesn’t say sometimessomethings, or some people. If our prayers are to have life, we must pray forgive us as we forgive others.

In John’s gospel, Jesus breathes on his followers, filling their lungs with the good news of forgiveness, a message they are to breathe out and into the world. But he warns them that if they withhold forgiveness, their lives will not become extensions of the Gospel, and the life of the Spirit’s recreative power will not flow through them.

Response

Have your prayers felt out of breath? Is there a person (or people) who came to mind as you read my words? Once you finish this Entry, please take a moment to visualize that person or persons. Once they’ve taken shape in your spirit, breathe out forgiveness. If you’re struggling to find air, ask for the grace to breathe out and breathe deeply again. A person who can’t forgive has lost sight of their need for forgiveness. “To understand is to forgive” (Pascal).

It’s all an injustice, they don’t belong to my prayers, you might think. You don’t know what they did to me. Yes, that is true. But God does. And He promises that only forgiveness can create the conditions for clarity and justice. Let’s not forget forgiveness only takes one, reconciliation takes two. Don’t worry about what a path toward reconciliation may require of you. The first step is to simply forgive.

If we refuse to forgive, our prayers will literally and figuratively run out of breath.

Unforgiveness keeps us from knowing what to pray, and it causes our relationship with God to devolve into bitterness and disappointment. But as we exhale forgiveness, a spaciousness is formed in us, and we find the capacity to move through conflicts and concerns.

Closing Thoughts

According to Jesus, forgiveness is a matter of life and death. Being who he was (and is), Jesus knew we’d struggle to forgive, so he doesn’t mince words: if we are to have a vibrant life, we must receive and extend forgiveness, letting its healing powers refresh our souls, dignify our pain, and direct our words.

Breathing with you,

Addison

Separator Words with God by Addison Bevere

P.S. I wrote a lot about praying through forgiveness in Words with God. If you’re new to this journey of rediscovering prayer as a way of life and don’t have the book yet, just click here to get yours.

P.P.S. If it’d be more convenient for you to receive these prayer guides via text, just click here.

Sunday Entries

On most Sundays, I share a short prayer guide, offering words and practices that will help you see, hear, and experience more of God in your daily life. I’d love for you to join us.

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The Entries

When you feel anxious or ill-equipped this week, pull out the paper and pray through these words, receiving them as your own. Take a few deep breaths as you ask the One who searches and knows all things to guide you forward.

Continue Reading →

Unforgiveness keeps us from knowing what to pray, and it causes our relationship with God to devolve into bitterness and disappointment. But as we exhale forgiveness, a spaciousness is formed in us, and we find the capacity to move through conflicts and concerns.

Continue Reading →

Take a quick inventory of your experience with people who “know everything,” the ones who make it their mission to prove how right they are and how wrong everyone else is. They are some of the most unloving and divisive people, right? Have you been that person before? (I know I have.)

Continue Reading →

06.11.23

“I’ve been thinking a lot about circles lately. So much of life is defined by circles—our days, week, months, and years form circles for us to move in and through. We’re constantly reminded that the end of a thing has a way of taking us back to a beginning. It would seem the cosmos announces the Circle as God’s shape of choice…”

Addison Bevere is the COO of Messenger International, a ministry founded by John and Lisa Bevere in 1990 that exists to develop uncompromising followers of Christ who transform our world. Messenger is dedicated to providing people with access to life-transforming messages regardless of their location, language, or financial position.

addison-thumbnail-2021
Addison Bevere

Husband, father, author, poet, speaker & follower of Christ

addison-thumbnail-2021
Addison Bevere

Husband, father, author, poet, speaker & follower of Christ

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