I pray, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. ~1 Timothy 2.1
One of the most wondrous scenes in the Gospels for me is in John 21 when Jesus cooked a meal on the beach as some of the disciples – the fishermen – were returning in their boats. Peter, realizing it was Jesus on the shore flipping the sardines, jumped from the boat, dragging himself the hundred or so yards to shore.
Then they walked together. Jesus and Peter, the Rock of his church, walked together. Jesus asked him three times, once for each of Peter’s denials, if he loved him. Peter got to say ‘yes, I do.’ Once for each time he had denied his beloved Savior.
It brings tears to my eyes. It is a scene that I think of when I have been in the wrong, when sin has captured my heart in some way. I pray, and I picture walking on the beach with Jesus. Letting him give me the chance to be restored. To be loved.
I know forgiveness for others is expected in living our lives. I know. And I try to make that a regular occurrence in my life.
I know there is great evil at work in the world today, that often escapes my ability to forgive on my own. The horror of it on our screens, in our living rooms, on the front pages.
God knows all about it. He knows even more about it than I can possibly ever grasp. He knows what seems unforgivable, and he knows when we don’t extend it. He knows what makes us tick, and what we need to be free in him.
So, he has asked us to pray for each other, and for those we don’t want to pray for.
Right now, right this moment as I write those words, I am overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it, the privilege we have to pray for others so that they have the chance to walk down the beach with Jesus.