This is so important that Jesus said it in response to the disciple’s entreaty: Lord teach us to pray. You can find the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew chapter 6, and again in Luke chapter 11. An important note is that this is a prayer for building up community as seen when we say OUR Father.
Forgive us our trespasses (sins). We are asking God for His mercy to forgive us. We do wrong. We hurt people. When we hurt others we hurt God. I know as a mother that watching my children fight is one of my biggest sorrows. It hurts me and it certainly doesn’t do them any good. It damages their relationship and fills them with pain that never goes away until forgiveness is sought and given. God hurts when we hurt, and God wants to heal that hurt. He does that by forgiving us, but He goes further than that.
As we forgive those who trespass against us. God knows that we won’t stop hurting until we forgive those who have hurt us. The pain may be forgotten for a time but will never go away.
Even those who are not sorry for their actions. God forgave us in His mercy, not because we deserved it but because He loved us. We need to do the same. God asks this of us because He knows that we need to be free of guilt and the pain that comes with it. God asks this of us because He wants us to love. God asks this of us because He knows it is hard for us which is why He shows us first how it is done. He doesn’t want any barriers between us and our brothers and sisters, and He doesn’t want any barriers between us and Him.
When you can’t forgive someone, pray for them. Easy? No. Necessary? Yes. Does it work? Yes. Praying to forgive someone is asking God for help. He always answers this prayer. We will forgive. Hopefully this will fix the relationship with our brother or sister, but if it doesn’t at least we will be free of guilt, if not sorrow, and our relationship with God will remain intact. Continue praying for the person even after you are able to forgive them so that they can have the same freedom you do and know God’s mercy and love. Praying for them is our action of love, the call of every Christian.