Being the illustrator for the Journey In Prayer book, I’ve been praying and hoping to create images that help spark our imagination to deepen our vision and understanding of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. This recent illustration is created to visualize forgiveness and collective reconciliation.
In my prayer and reflection on the subject, the eyes of my heart saw every conflict and broken relationship as actions that impact the parties involved and having a ripple effect on the outer rings of family, community, and even nation. The act of forgiveness, as a supernatural apocalypse is more than just an event involving individual’s choices to extend and receive mercy. Beyond human sight, there are more layers on Earth and in the heavenly realm manifesting and motivating reconciliation. Jesus is our core intercessor along with the prayers of people building momentum in pressing the sacred act to be realized in each of our hearts. In experiencing forgiveness from God and in forgiving others, we tangibly live out Christ's kingdom reality - a reality of full reconciliation. As I illustrated, I saw people in prayer becoming houses of prayers with angels above sheltering, protecting and leading a pathway into union with God.
I also meditate on the concept of how Jesus prayed first for forgiveness and then protection in the Lord's Prayer. In my experience, once forgiveness does happen, I often encounter a desire to un-forgive and my self-righteousness retells the story of being hurt or victimized and I question the mercy and grace I need to extend to another. I think that's why it is essential we protect the holy act of forgiveness by praying, asking God to seal the forgiveness permanently. Because His forgiveness for us is infinite, we too must persevere and patiently pray to forgive another until our hearts truly receives God’s grace and mercy to carry through the sacred act of forgiveness to completion.
Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes a week, sometimes a year, and sometimes seasons to find forgiveness or be shown forgiveness. However long it times, as long as we are praying it forward, we will become what we pray: men and women of tender mercy.
(Don't let the name throw you off.)