Forgive Relentlessly, Praying in the Face of Injustice with Prayerwalking Janet McHenry

Forgive relentlessly. That was not a phrase that comes to my mind when I think about prayer. What about you? Yet, according to Janet McHenry forgiving relentlessly is exactly what Jesus prayed first on the cross.
Forgive Relentlessly says Prayerwalking Janet McHenry, shown here relaxing against a stone wall and smiling. CathyKrafve.com

 

“We have three prayers from the cross itself, where He prays first, first He prays, His very first prayer, is a prayer of forgiveness. He says, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do’ from Luke 23:34. He prays forgiveness first,” she emphasizes. Janet compares Jesus’s prayer to the ones we typically pray when we’re faced with injustice.

Prayers in the Face of Injustice

Okay, I confess it. When I feel misjudged, first I usually remind God (and myself) that He is just. Then, I ask Him for justice in the situation. Eventually, I might think to ask Him to forgive the other person, if I pray long enough. 

Injustice calls for powerful prayer, relentless prayer. Forgive relentlessly? How can we pray when condemnation threatens to polarize families, churches, or communities? When we witness injustice (or live through it) what prayer tools do we have at our disposal? (To hear the entire, unedited 30 minute podcast, click below or find it here.)

Forgive Relentlessly

“We have a responsibility of forgiveness because that is the key of Christianity. Forgiveness.” Janet adds that to forgive relentlessly “is not something taught in other religions and other faiths. We can make a difference for humanity and for eternity if we in fact forgive relentlessly.” But, she knows full well how difficult it can be when we cry out due to injustices in our lives.

“We had to say, ‘Father we still trust you for this situation. And we forgive those people even though they’ve not repented yet. They are in your hands and we trust you.’” To forgive relentlessly can seem like some counterfeit super-spiritual pretension. How do we forgive relentlessly?

“That does not mean I’m a doormat, but (instead) I’m putting the situation in God’s hands and allowing Him to be the judge,” explains Janet about how tough forgiveness can be. But, forgiveness benefits all, she clarifies, as Jesus emerges “the victor in the situation, but also in my life personally as a testimony.”

More from Janet

With six books on prayer, including The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus, Janet helps us figure out how to pray, using Jesus’s own prayers as our guide. Particularly, I loved what she says in our interview about releasing our children into God’s care.

Plus, in The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus, she defined submission as committing our spirit over to God. Her definition is one of the best I’ve ever seen or heard on the topic of submission! I highly recommend understanding her perspective on submission for all pastors and teachers because she presents the concept so clearly. In fact, she shared so many profound ideas, I had a hard time choosing just one or two for this blog.

If you are planning a ladies retreat at your church, a community prayer walk or a Mindfulness Triathlon, I urge you to consider Janet as your guest speaker. To my good fortune, I got to sit under her teaching at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writer’s Conference this year and I highly recommend her. (You can reach Janet, by clicking here. To learn more about how to rally your community for a Mindfulness Triathlon, find the episodes we did with Colleen Long, here.)

Prayer and Being Women of Influence 

As she shared wisdom, Janet suggested practical tips for becoming a woman who habitually seeks God. (Please click the above podcast to hear all she packed into our short 30-minute interview or go here.)

When I asked her about the mental health issues all women seem to face, like anxiety, depression, feelings of unworthiness, she gave the following insight about offering people compassion.

“Where ever you are, there’s a need for prayer. As you stand in line and the mom ahead of you is having a really hard time with her fretful toddler, you could pray. You could offer a kind word, rather than condemnation,” says Janet on how we develop into the influential women God intends for us all to be. Of course, we’ve all seen women who have faced tough challenges and lived to become godly, powerful women, influencing everyone around them with their faith.

“It’s not that hard to shift from a self-focused life to having a more open life where you’re seeing you can partner with your Savior in prayer for your community,” says Janet with deep and time-proven conviction.

May I pray for you?

Dear Father, You love us and seek a relationship with us. When we pray, You hear our prayers. Jesus, our Savior, also prays for us still. Forgiveness is Your passion, O Lord, the reason for the cross. With such a high value placed on forgiveness, help us forgive others as You forgive us. We want to be relentless in our forgiving. Teach us to love others as You love us. Give us compassion, mercy, and forbearance for one another. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

How have you seen God answer prayer? When you pray, which verses from the Bible give you encouragement? What is your favorite prayer to pray for your friends?

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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