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Text Sermons : J.R. Miller : October 8. A Forgiving Spirit

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"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him — so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25

It is told of a Christian woman that a friend entered her room and found her with bowed head, as if in prayer. At length her friend spoke to her tenderly, knowing that a great sorrow was on her heart. "I have been trying to say the Lord's Prayer," she answered, "but I cannot get through it." She had said the words thousands of times in sunny childhood, in joyous youth, on her wedding-day, and then along the gladsome years that followed, amid songs and flowers and prattling child-voices, and in the sweetness of an unbroken home circle; and they had flowed from her lips like rippling music all the while. But now a great sorrow had come, and since that she had begun a hundred times, "Our father in Heaven, Hallowed be your name. May your kingdom come. May Your will ______ " but she could not get any farther. She could not yet say, "May Your will be done."

A story is told of a nobleman in Alexandria, in olden days, who complained bitterly to the bishop of his enemies. While in the midst of the recital of his wrongs, the bell rang for prayers, and bishop and nobleman dropped to their knees, the former leading in the Lord's Prayer, and the latter leaving his story unfinished for the time and joining in the prayer. When the bishop came to the words, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive," he suddenly stopped and left the nobleman to go on alone. The nobleman attempted to say the words — but startled by the sound of his own voice unaccompanied, and recalled by the bishop's silence to the meaning of the prayer, he stammered, ceased to pray, and rose in great despair; and it was only when he had learned to cherish a forgiving spirit toward others — that he could say form his heart, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us."

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