The Lord’s Prayer follows a literary device called a chiasm. In a chiasm, the main point is in the middle of the passage.

The middle of the chiasm is this verse about forgiveness. That is why the very first
verse after The Lord’s Prayer (v14) says: “For if you forgive other people, your heavenly father will forgive you”. It is harkening back to the main/central emphasis of the prayer.

So why is forgiveness the central point of this prayer?

Perhaps it is Jesus’ way of saying that intimacy with God begins with taking ownership of our choices. Forgiveness is our own choice. It is required of us as a part of our fellowship and walk with God. It requires putting aside offense and seeking the best for others. To pray the Lord’s Prayer rightly requires some self-reflection. For we are asking God to treat us as we treat others.

As we forgive others through the experiences of life, we are promised a similar forgiveness from
God. That leads to intimacy. Perhaps that also means our mistakes and flaws are taken care of in this life, and when we stand before the fiery judgment seat of Christ our deeds will have already been burned away through forgiveness.

When we exercise forgiveness and ask God to love and forgive us as we are loving and forgiving our fellow man, we unlock the keys to the kingdom. We start to see reality as it is. We begin to partake of God’s great rewards.

This is the second in a series of five devotionals centered around The Lord’s Prayer. We hope this series encourages you to examine how and why you pray. We hope it unlocks some clarity around the power and purpose of prayer. And we hope it leads you to the heart of God.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
– Matthew 6:12