I love my children but they are certainly far from perfect. Each one of them has proclaimed Christ publicly by baptism and stated they know Jesus as their savior. Each one has said that "sinners' prayer" that both establishes and declares their faith in Him. Each one has been forgiven by the blood of Jesus for all of their sins. Their forgiveness is not determined by their actions. They are forgiven because of the Cross.
Should I ask God to continue to forgive them? Their sins are unknown to me. However, I know that they are human and humans continue to sin even though they know better. Should I go to God and ask for His forgiveness on them? What would that mean to my children?
Moses asked that God forgive the Hebrews after they rebelled against Him by not taking the Promised Land when called upon. God was ready to start all over and make a new people. He had been working on these people for centuries and they were just not getting it. They were acting as if God would not keep His word or He was unable to carry them through what He had commanded them to do or that He did not know what was best for them. They were rejecting the very nature of who God is. These things are the roots of our sins too. Moses asked God to forgive and continue to work with them. And God did.
God's forgiveness still had consequences. These people who rebelled would not see the promised land. They would wander until their generation died. God would take the next generation into His promised covenant. They would see what He had planned for them.
Sin is missing the mark. The mark is God's glory. Forgiveness is avoiding the condemnation that sin brings. Eternal damnation is only one of the consequences of sin. Those who know Jesus as Savior have escaped this. Yet, a remaining consequence is being captured by sin so that it controls you. Sin can bring you into some very dark places. It can take you further into sin. It can keep you from walking in God's light. It can squeeze all the joy out of your life while promising greater joys than God could ever provide.
Yes I pray for the forgiveness of my children. I do not try to pray them into heaven. This is something that is assured because of their faith in Christ. I pray that their sins will not capture them. They will have forgiveness of these sins. Forgiveness also means turning from the sin and I pray that sin will become repulsive to them. I pray that their hearts will become new each day for sin has a way of hardening the heart. I pray they will come home each night to their God rather than remain prodigals who haven't yet discovered their despair.
Pray for those you love today. Pray that they will be released from any sin which is plaguing them. Pray for that forgiveness which is divinely given and releases them from the power that sin has had over them.
Numbers 14:20 (NIV)
20 The LORD replied, "I have forgiven them, as you asked.