“Lord, Teach Us to Pray” Part VI

Or, Do You Know the Two Dimensions of Forgiveness?

“And forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us” throws just about everyone into the abyss. At some point along the way, and for many at too many points, some one does something to us or to someone we love and we simply cannot forgive. We know we need to. We know we want to, or we want to want to want to, but we can’t. We know we want forgiveness for our self, but we just cannot forgive this offense.

Virtually everyone struggles this struggle to forgive. It can last for years and even decades and sometimes a lifetime. The struggle itself transforms. But I want to focus on another dimension of forgiveness.

The second dimension of forgiveness emerges from and within the spacious spaciousness


and the luminous luminosity

mtIMG_9930of Presence (see previous post). It’s not just that we experience the Presence of the Spirit within. We begin to find our self in Presence. This is the consummate fruit of our longings and desires being guided by “Your kingdom come.” And so, indeed, the kingdom (God’s Presence) has come and is coming within us, but even more, like a drop of rain is one with the ocean, so we are one in Presence.


This Presence, this vast vastness with its luminous luminosity is impossible to describe but ever so important to name. We need to know there’s a deeper dimension of the Spirit, of Presence, into which we are being drawn. Like all the stages of human development, we can see them from afar but can’t know what they’re like until we’re in them. So this stage of spiritual progress, the fruit of our longings and yearnings offered to God and guided by Jesus’ instruction, emerges unexpectedly.

Suddenly, in this Presence, everything illumines differently. Compassion for the trauma of being human overwhelms … everything. We begin to understand how Jesus could look down from the cross at those who falsely condemned, beat, mocked, and crucified him, and plead for their forgiveness. How could he do this? Because he saw from a different place, a larger place. He knew they simply did not understand, could not understand. And from this place of spacious spaciousness, his largess of soul saw beyond their offenses to their innate goodness as God’s creation.

The struggle to forgive is a struggle we all must struggle. The answer, however, comes from a different place. But only as we actually and really bring our longings and yearnings and struggles to the One Jesus called Father. Over time, decades really, we discover “Your kingdom come” is the only prayer and the answer to all prayer.

Please engage Luke 11:1-13 yet again.  [If you are new to our blog, a description of our method of “engaging,” which is a method for reading and praying with the Bible, other literature, and life itself, can be found here.].

Ruminate on Jesus’ instruction. Let this prayer have its way with you until you hear and see and experience it differently. To your ruminations you might want to add Jesus’ cry from the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:32-38).

Grace and Peace,


More to come …

About jclark

The Rev. Jim Clark is the Rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. Barnabas on the Desert in Scottsdale, Arizona.


  1. I ask, if hearing & seeing in his word is what is his offer, can we look @ sin inside the church azwell? Yes or no will be a defined answer!

  2. Elizabeth Garas says:

    Thank you for this thought-filled post which addresses “forgiveness”, Father Jim. I read it just before leaving to attend the Choral Evensong and Concert at St. Barnabas this evening. Within this beautiful service, I was reminded of your commentary here, when the Letter of Paul to the Colossians was read (Chapter 3, verses 12-18).

    This scripture passage, which describes the character of the New Man, reads as follows:

    “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on heartfelt compassion (tender mercies), kindness, humility, meekness (gentleness) and patience(longsuffering); bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as the Lord forgave you, so you also must do.

    But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace (gratitude) in your hearts to the Lord.”

    Thy kingdom come…….

  3. Hey Marc, thank you for your comment. I can’t give the yes or no “defined” answer you seem to request because I don’t understand the question. Can you clarify it? Thanks

  4. Janice Tindall says:

    This is almost too profound an idea to make a comment. It is true that the times of true forgiveness was when I could see that the “other” was misguided, ignorant, and trying as hard as they could. It truly is a great task to be human and so hard to measure up to the ideals we set for ourselves. Perhaps one of the greatest ideals is to live in that Presence so completely that it doesn’t take months or years to work through the forgiveness process!

  5. Craig weatherup says:

    I love the thought of being “In Presence”. I have been working/pondering beig fully present, being fully alive, being truly joyful, etc.
    Being “In Presence”, in the context you offer, is indeed a bigger thought to reflect upon. Thanks, Craig

  6. Gretchen Gottschalk says:

    Although I am late in answering your latest blog on prayer and forgive, it is because I needed time to absorb and reread and contemplate the message. It is had, for me, to encompass the fully meaning and realize the depth of being “In the Presence”.
    I need to have this blob ” tattooed” somewhere so I can see it all day long.

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