Q. 105. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition, which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.
What a mercy that the first thing in a proper prayer that the Lord Jesus taught us is not to confess our sins right out. We get to start by praising our God, praying for his name to be honored, for his kingdom to come and that we bring about his will, and we even get to ask God to provide for our needs that he already knows we have. And then, we must remember that we are sinners and deserve nothing from the Father who we have wronged so grievously. We don't even deserve for him to give us an audience.
But he allows us to confess our sins and to ask them to be forgiven. He has provided his only Son whom he loves more than anything to die for our sins and take on our just punishment and to give us his life. He is glad to forgive our sins because he knows that Jesus has brought them to justice.
At the same time, we need to forgive those who have sinned against us. It is good to mention this in the prayer because often times we cannot in our own strength forgive people who have harmed us. But we must and so we must rely on the Holy Spirit's power to carry us along through completing our Lord's command to forgive.
What a joy to a recovering sinner that God will not only forgive our sins but help us to forgive people we have wronged or even have gone to far in trying to help. He will help us forgive ourselves. How dare we not take advantage of this grace! In fact, if we don't, then we will suffer for eternity. Take this offer, please! There is no other.