“Forgive us …” – Prayer series V

“And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.”
Matthew 6: 12

Jesus teaches that our relationships with God and our neighbours are closely tied. This was different from the tradition in which Jesus was raised and appears contrary to the world’s mindset today. Today, the typical human assumption is that the violator must ask for forgiveness before the wronged party can be expected to accept the apology and grant forgiveness. The cry “Never forget and never forgive” has been echoed throughout history. But Jesus asks the person wronged to forgive the one responsible for the wrongdoing even when there is no confession of guilt.

Is this possible? Can I forgive someone who has caused me great pain and sorrow? Can Christians who have suffered at the hands of oppressive governments, forgive them for years of murder and mayhem? This is a tricky question to which those of us who have never endured such suffering. We cannot presume to give easy answers. Yet a voice from the cross echoes across history to all, saying: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Neither Pilate, the high priest, nor the centurion offered any apology to Jesus, yet he prayed for divine forgiveness for them amid their brutality to him. Jesus acted out the second half of this prayer on the cross in total innocence of wrongdoing. This is not the cry of the weak but the extraordinary voice of the strong.

The world despises Jesus’ message because it thinks anger is necessary to fuel the struggle for justice.  In very few words, the Lord’s Prayer weaves together some of the weightiest themes of Jesus’ theology. In this week’s verse, Jesus connects God’s forgiveness of his people with their willingness to forgive others. Forgiveness must be offered even when it is not requested. The model is Jesus on the cross. Jesus used the Aramaic word khoba when he taught the Lord’s Prayer. That word means both debts and sins. We need forgiveness for both. Debts refers to unfulfilled obligations toward God and our fellow human beings. We should have reached out compassionately to our neighbour but failed to do so, and so our love for God is incomplete. So, we ask God to forgive us for our failures towards Him and others. 

Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness”.

Forgiveness is a recurring need, like daily bread.

“Give us this day” – Prayer Series part IV

“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Matthew 6:11 NKJV 

I think one of the most crippling fears of the human spirit is the fear of not having enough to eat. Will we have enough? We are managing now, but what about the future? What if I lose my job? What if the kids get sick? What if I am unable to work? How will we survive? Fear of not having enough to eat can destroy a sense of well-being daily and erode hope for the future. 
Could this verse also suggest, “Deliver us, O Lord, from the fear of not having enough to eat”? Give us bread for today, and with it, give us confidence that we will have enough tomorrow. Our prayer can legitimately suggest, “Give us today the bread that does not run out.” This mindset focuses on an amount, frequency, and the fear that we will not have enough. It requests deliverance from that fear. It also implies that the bread requested is bread, not cake, cars, or wealth. 
We pray OUR BREAD, not my bread. Bread is a gift; when we pray and ask for our bread, we affirm that all bread comes as a gift. It comes as a gift from the one who owns all things. It is not a right, and we have not created it. We are given such gifts in trust, holding and using them for the one who gives them. All material possessions are on loan from their owner, the God who created matter itself. 
When you pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Do you ask for bread that sustains life, not all its extras? Do you mean ours and not mine? Do you acknowledge it is a gift?

“Thy will be done” – Prayer series part III

Your Kingdom come, Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” 
Matthew 6:9 NKJV 

Have you heard the Latin expression “Deo volente”? In some cultural and religious circles, it is often a concluding statement that follows the making of plans. The conversation ends with a disclaimer that suggests let’s not forget God’s role. Deo Volente means “God willing”. It suggests that the sovereign God of the universe, whom we call out to when we begin the Lord’s Prayer, is in control. 
The will of God is everything that God desires or allows to happen in heaven and on earth; we acknowledge this when we say Deo Volente. For some, God’s will dominating all our plans and desires can appear defeatist. They may adopt a mindset of “why bother if God is going to do what God is going to do”. Why did Jesus invite us to make the statement, “Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven”, if everything was out of our control? Jesus taught us to say these words because He knows we can participate in God’s will and even influence its success in our lives.  
We pray for God’s will to be done. When we say these words, it is not only because we acknowledge God as the sovereign ruler of the universe overseeing all that happens. We pray these because we have free will and can choose, to an extent, to be part of God’s plan. If we could not choose because it was already predetermined, then we aren’t created in the image of God, an image that chooses between good and evil. God’s will can be simplified into two categories: Sovereign/hidden will and revealed will. The sovereign will is all that God ordains to happen with or without our awareness. The revealed will is given to us in scripture, allowing us to participate in His will done on earth. 

The human will is our capacity for choice and action, which we can exercise for good or evil. As such, it enables us to respond to God’s word in obedience or disobedience. Scripture reveals God’s will that helps us choose between good and evil. It guides us to loving God and others with our whole being. Scripture shares many stories of obedience, disobedience, living in harmony, and heartbreak. It reveals choices between right and wrong, and we must acknowledge that God wants us to do what is right. When we pray Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are praying for the hidden and revealed will. And when we offer these words to our Father, we must acknowledge that there is much of God’s will that we can know that will help us live life to the fullest, understand God’s presence in our life, and keep us on that path to living the kingdom life now and in eternity. 

When we pray, “Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” We are saying we desire God to keep His holy and loving hand over us, and that we want to do our part to see His will be done wherever we are. 

“Our Father” – Prayer series II

“In this manner therefore pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” 
Matthew 6:9 NKJV 

My wife and I took ill on Christmas Eve, and since that date, we have gone through several iterations of the flu and other bugs. Currently, she has pneumonia, and I have bronchitis. Our illnesses have been in spurts. We lay in bed for several days, would get up for a few hours and then back down again. Neither of us have been this ill for so long, and despite our best efforts, we could not maintain any sense of routine. I say we, but superwoman (my wife) would get up, make coffee, and keep the fireplace going while I was man-sick in bed. Praise the Lord; we (including our doctors) believe we are at the end of this mess. 

Before becoming ill, I had been studying the Lord’s Prayer to write a series of articles on the prayer. I was able to submit one article before mushy brain syndrome took over. I tried to continue with devotions and prayers but admittedly struggled during this time. I was both physically and mentally wiped out, but I did not want to ignore God because I knew He was not ignoring me. I tried to listen to sermons, devotionals, audiobooks, and praise songs but quickly lost focus or fell asleep. However, throughout my illness, the phrase “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9 NKJV) kept coming to mind, specifically the words Father and Hallowed

My Father passed when I was in my early teens, so I had no role model, nor was I capable of idolatrously compare God to an earthly father. Using the story of the prodigal son helped me understand the loving, gracious term ABBA. Modern life creates great distances between members of a family. However, this is not the norm in traditional communities in the Middle East. Their mother and father have lived near their children all their lives. In short, the Father is near and usually lives in the same house. In contrast, the Abba of Christian prayer is near yet far away; He is in the heavens. The worshipping community is part of the created world. Abba is the Creator. The faithful are servants, and Abba is the Master. Mortals are born and die, while Abba is the eternal One. Abba’s name is Hallowed, and my thoughts during my illness were, Abba, continue to make Your name hallowed so the world will see You are in control. You are loving, gracious, personal, and close to those who desire You”. 

Abba, the loving Father, is approachable yet dwells in excellent majesty in the heavens in all His glory. Jesus taught His disciples to pray to God, who is near and yet far away. He is “our Father” and, at the same time, is “in the heavens.” 

When you pray, say: Prayer series Part I

“In this manner therefore pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” Matthew 6:9 NKJV 
He said to them: “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” Luke 11:2a. (NKJV)

Many who have attended church sometime in their life have most likely heard the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13 & Luke 11:1-4). As children, we often repeated it in public school (when we did those things), in Sunday School, or as adults while in worship. We may have been taught to say it as the catchall prayer when we did not know what to say. However, how many of us have reflected deeply on what Jesus taught? 

We know that words, statements, stories, etc., found in the Bible are not placed there accidentally but have a meaning, so what was the significance of these words? I do not believe that when Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore pray “, or “When you pray, say,” that He suggested this was the only prayer we would say. He warns us in Matthew 6:5 about the hypocrisy and vanity some display when they pray to be seen or repeat phases, hoping God will hear. His guidance reminds us to acknowledge the omnipotence and grace of God, to take the focus off ourselves and turn it to God. 

The apostles would have learned and recited the Hebrew prayers in synagogues. So why did they need to be taught? They noticed Jesus prayed differently. He prayed short and long prayers in the language of the times at different hours and locations. He used the expression “our Father” which may have been surprising to them. It seems simple for Christians to refer to God as “our Father”, and we have been taught that way since we accepted Christ. We don’t give God’s title a second thought but to His first disciples, it may have seemed out of place. However, when Jesus was asked by His disciples to teach them to pray, he instituted a new way of praying. 

Two major Abrahamic religions, Judaism, and Islam, use a sacred language in their prayers. Jews pray in Hebrew while Muslims pray in an ancient Arabic tongue. Jesus lived in a world where the public reading of the Bible was only in Hebrew, and prayers had to be offered in that language. However, when He invited the disciples to call God Abba (our father/my father), He took the giant step of endorsing Aramaic as an acceptable language for prayer and worship. He opened the door for the New Testament to be written in Greek (not Hebrew) and then translated into other languages. Ancient languages or customs do not bind Christians as Jesus implies, we are free to worship as we are.  

There is a deeper meaning, not a hidden one, in the Lord’s prayer. Over the next few weeks, you are invited to join us as we dissect the Lord’s Prayer and share tips that may change how you understand this prayer and how you pray in general.  (see below for the first tip)

You need to add a widget, row, or prebuilt layout before you’ll see anything here. 🙂

Ongoing themes we are praying for.

  1. That the Lord would raise an army of intercessors that will stand in the gap for the Canadian Forces. We desire to have 24-7 prayer covering over our troops. Lord open, the eyes of the nation!
  2. Putting Bibles in the hands of soldiers. PRAISE!, the Bibles are being distributed in Afghanistan and they are being read by the soldiers.
  3. Revival in the bases across the nation, from Sea to Sea and to the ends of the earth. Pray also for connections with local prayer leaders.
  4. The salvation and the protection of the men and women serving abroad, and for their families that remain in Canada. Pray for miraculous deliverance during combat! Pray Psalm 91 and 121!
  5. For the protection of families after deployment. Pray for healing of the families after deployment. This includes parents, spouses and children. These are people who have lost loved ones, or whose loved ones returned injured. Some of these injuries are spiritual, mental, and unseen, these linger and can fester for years. Pray that those injured spiritually will have the strength to come forward and seek help. Pray for the marriages of those returning, for their healthy re-establishment.
  6. The recruitment of chaplains. Pray that the Lord will call men and women of conviction to step forward. Pray that Canadian churches will come to see the Canadian Forces as a mission field. Imagine what the military could be if our soldiers would know Jesus!
  7. Continue to pray for the chaplains that are currently deployed.
  8. Pray that our chaplains will be able to use this opportunity to bring our soldiers to make a choice for salvation.
  9. Pray that the soldiers’ turning to the Lord will NOT fade once our soldiers return to their safe and comfortable world at home.
  10. Pray they will be touched by God, to be like John the Baptist within the military. With this we mean that they will “prepare the way for the Lord”, that they will move in the power of true faith in Christ.
  11. Pray that they will bring this faith home as the seeds for true revival in the Canadian Forces.
  12. Pray that our soldiers will be able to use this newfound faith as a basis upon which to re-establish their marriages, and their families.
  13. Pray for prayer groups to start on each base, for the chosen people to have a vision from God, for their stepping out.
  14. We receive many requests of mothers asking for prayer for their sons and daughters preparing for deployment or deployed. Lift them up in prayer!
  15. Pray for the spread of the Gospel in the military community around the Globe.


Military Basic Training was a culture shock. Before, I was a student at university working part-time as a janitor in a seniors’ residence in Wolfville, NS. After two years, I had run out of funds and decided to apply to the military; after all, my dad was a former military pilot, and my brother was a serving aeronautical engineer.
Going on exercise was part of Basic Training, as it is part of the military experience in general. Part of the military exercise was a routine called “Stand-to.” The practice of “Stand-to” was a hold-over from WWI when at just before dawn and shortly after dusk, soldiers would stand by their trench with their weapons loaded and ready to fire in the event of an enemy attack, which routinely came at just before dawn or just after dusk. It was part of being ready.

Several months ago, I was on a course led by Dr. Steve Brown, which was entitled “Jesus Centred.” The course was named after the book that Dr. Brown wrote. To me, the book’s gist was about being ready to share and live the gospel in a non-permissive environment. A vital element of the course was focused on Luke 10:2
Dr. Brown emphasized that the number of “harvesters” was diminishing in Canada. I note that local churches and mission agencies are echoing the same message… Gospel messengers are fewer and fewer, and this is when the spread of secularism is increasing. Generally, the Canadian population, including the military community, has little to no information about who Jesus is or the opportunity for eternal life that is available only through Him. 
I shared with Dr. Brown the ministry of the MCF and our mission to bring the gospel to the military community. He was intrigued and asked how it was going. “Not very well,” I responded. Dr. Brown reminded me of Luke 10:2 when Jesus was sending out missionaries and explaining to them the dilemma that many were ready to hear the gospel, but there were too few messengers. Jesus’ solution was to pray for an increase in labourers. Dr. Brown told me he had set the alarm on his phone for 10:02 am every day when he prayed for labourers. This resonated with me, so I set the alarm on my phone for 10:02 am daily. I pray for three things:

  1. Lord, please spread Your gospel throughout the military community.
  2. Lord, please use the MCF as an instrument of your messaging.
  3. Lord, please use me as one of your harvesters.

This prayer takes me about one minute. 
Can you imagine if you were to join me at the same time and pray the same thing every day? Can you imagine if five, or 10 or 50 or 100 of us pray the same thing every day at the same time? I think that God would be moved to answer our requests.
Would you join me at 10:02 am every day to “Stand-to” and pray for these three requests? 
Are you with me?
Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’d)

Don’t give up!

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. Romans 12:12

The song “Que Sera Sera” was first introduced to the public in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 film The Man Who Knew Too Much.  Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart.  In the movie, Doris Day’s character sings “Que Sera Sera” to her son at the film’s beginning.  After her son is kidnapped, she again sings the song while trying to find the boy. Hitchcock intertwines the idea of “ques sera sera” throughout the movie, suggesting the couple’s chaos and danger is unavoidable no matter what they do.

Too many people have this type of fatalism when they pray. They think that regardless of what they do or say, God has made his mind up, so whatever will be will be. What does it mean to pray? Does it mean throwing your arms up in the air, resigning yourself to an uncertain fate, or are there more profound promises we can hold onto when we pray? 

Some have skewed ideas about prayer. The problem is that some of these ideas (such as those listed below) aren’t only wrong and can derail your prayer life altogether.  

  • No patience is required.  
  • Prayer comes naturally. 
  • Prayer is like a wish list for Santa.  
  • Prayer is a one-way conversation.  
  • Prayer is a silver bullet.  
  • My way is the right way to pray.  
  • I’ll live my life the way I want to (also known as the Frank Sinatra syndrome).

Prayer can be spoken spontaneously in response to events going on around us. But we must also make time to talk with God intentionally. Prayer must include listening and watching. If we trust God is listening, there will be a response; it may come sooner or later. When we pray, we must expect to get an answer, as prayer is a two-way conversation in which we talk and listen for God. Prayer does not come naturally, especially to the Western culture, which struggles with the idea of talking with someone who can’t be seen yet is omnipresent. Or those who believe they are self-made and all they own, or desire is because of their efforts. They may talk with God so He can address things they can’t seem to obtain or achieve in the desired time frame.  

Life has a purpose, and we can make decisions that influence the outcome of that life. We are not saved to give up when it gets tricky, as Jesus came so that we could live life to the full. Prayer is simply making time to be with God. We make time for many essential things, so we must make time for God. When we pray, and God seems quiet, we continue to pray, trusting God is always listening. Persistent prayer is about trusting God to lead and guide us knowing we are not forgotten or forsaken. 

Pray for our children.

Pray for their physical health, safety, and protection from harm in their workplaces, schools, or training rooms. Pray for their participation in physical activities such as sporting events or outdoor activities. Pray for their time on the road, whether it is going to and from their work or school or whether they are going on a trip. 
Pray that the evil one does not use an illness or injury to cause them to doubt or question God.

Pray for their jobs, the decisions they make and the lives they interact with during their day in their workplace or school. If they are going to school or are taking training, pray for their training and the need to focus, prepare, and participate. Pray for their finances and their financial decision-making skills. 
Pray that the evil one does not use temptation to put them in dire financial situations.

Pray for their happiness. Pray their day is not overwhelming; it takes away from their rest and leisure. Pray that if they experience sadness, loneliness or self-doubt, they seek out someone who is a positive influence. Pray that the Holy Spirit reminds them of God`s presence and desire to comfort them. 
Pray that the evil one does not use busyness to drain their physical and emotional health. 

Pray for their relationships and friendships. Pray they can be a positive influence on those they interact with and that they use both heart and mind when choosing friends or places to hang out. Pray they choose appropriate entertainment and leisure activities, including what they watch and read and the sites they choose for entertainment.   
Pray the evil one does not use their friends to place them in situations or circumstances they should not be. 

Pray for their spiritual health and growth. If you know they are unsaved, pray that the Holy Spirit seeks them out to reveal the truth and that they respond to the calling and decide to follow Christ. Pray the Holy Spirit uses someone or something to provoke thoughts or questions about God. 
Pray for protection against the evil one stealing their day and that they make and take the opportunity to grow closer to God through prayer, reading and meditating on the word, and attending corporate worship. 


We can talk to God any time, but it helps to set aside a specific time for prayer. Consider using a prayer journal as a reminder of who and what to pray for.

Keep a list of people and needs you want to talk to God about. Pray for particular needs and areas each day. For example; on one day, pray for family members (their needs, salvation, etc.); on the next day, pray for friends (their needs, salvation, etc.); on another day, pray for your church; and on another day, pray for the world (world leaders, missions, and the spread of the gospel) In your prayer journal, record the date you began praying for your need or that of a friend. Then record the date it was answered. Learn to celebrate answered prayer.