Prayer for Our Needs
As we continue studying Jesus’ model prayer for us in Matthew 6:9–15, we now come to the second set of three petitions of the prayer: requests for daily bread, forgiven debts, and the avoidance of temptation. All three, interestingly enough, deal with man’s need.
“What is man, that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart on him, that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment?” (Job 7:17–18). It is amazing to consider that this all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God who created the entire universe would have any interest in us personally. But He does! And it is rooted in of His tremendous love for you. God Almighty has committed Himself to personally meeting the needs of His children.
“Give us this day our daily bread”
This part of the model prayer is not only a place where we ask God for something. It also serves as an affirmation that everything we have ultimately comes from Him. It is acknowledging God as the Giver. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
Yes, we can work hard, save, and wisely invest our money, buy our own food and clothes, and pay for our own houses, but the very ability to do this comes from God! Scripture also says, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18).
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
“Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God” (2 Corinthians 9:10–11).
“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).
“Forgive us our debts”
This verse can also be translated, “Forgive us our sins, trespasses, shortcomings, resentments, what we owe to you, or anything wrong that we have done.”
Some think that they do not need forgiveness. But according to Jesus in this model prayer, it’s something we should be asking for on a regular basis. Scripture says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). In fact, everyone has sinned, and should seek God’s forgiveness. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
The apostle Paul wrote, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12).
Those who do not see their constant need for regular cleansing are not spending much time in God’s presence. Someone once said, “The greater the saint, the greater is the sense of sin and the awareness of sin within.”
“As we forgive our debtors”
According to Jesus, a generous and constant forgiveness of others should be the natural result of our understanding of the forgiveness that God has extended to us. A man once said to the English preacher John Wesley, “I never forgive and I never forget.” To which Wesley responded, “Then Sir, I hope you never sin.”
In many ways, forgiveness is the key to healthy, strong, and lasting relationships with others. We are going to hurt one another—whether it be intentional or unintentional—because as fatally flawed people, we are going to sin. That is why we must learn to forgive.
When there is no forgiveness, a root of bitterness begins to grow. And when a root of bitterness grows, it destroys that relationship. Hebrews 12:15 speaks of this destructive nature of bitterness: “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”
Today, society seems to exalt vengeance over forgiveness. We see many who live by the adage, “Don’t get mad—get even!” Yet, harboring unforgiveness in your life can eat you up spiritually and even bring your spiritual growth to a standstill.
Unforgiveness is choosing to love hate. It produces bitterness, malignancy, anger, rage, anxiety, and depression. Simply put, it is sin. That is why Jesus included the need to forgive others in this prayer.
The Bible gives 75 different word pictures for forgiveness. Included among those:
- Forgiveness is like writing “canceled” over a debt.
- Forgiveness is like taking a piece of pottery that resembles something that someone has done to you and smashing it into a million pieces so that it can never be remembered again.