Forgive Our Debts

Matthew 6:12

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

The key to forgiveness is that we must be willing to forgive as well.  They way Jesus phrases His prayer tells us just this.  We shouldn’t ask for forgiveness if we continue to hold something against another person.  In fact, if we pray this prayer while not forgiving someone else, we’re actually asking the Lord to not forgiven us.  We are asking to be forgiven in the same manner that we have forgiven others.

Jesus told a parable about a man who had been forgiven a great debt by the king.  This same man had someone who owed him money beaten and thrown into prison because he couldn’t pay a much smaller debt.  When the king discovered that the man whose debt he had forgiven acted this way, he had him thrown into prison.

Forgiveness is more than simply words, it is an attitude.  We can say we’re sorry and ask for forgiveness but if we are not truly sorry, it means nothing.  We must have a heart that is repentant to go along with the words that we say.

Whether we are willing to forgive others indicates whether we truly desire to be forgiven and deserve to be forgiven.  Before we ask God to forgive us, we must be willing to let go of the hurt and pain that others may have caused us and forgive them.  Then we can boldly ask God to forgive us for the things that we have done wrong.

Give Us Our Daily Bread

Matthew 6:11

Give us today our daily bread.

The concept of daily bread is lost on us today but many people still understand the idea of living paycheck to paycheck.  At the time, people got paid at the end of the day.  They stopped at the market on the way home to buy food.  And this was all the more food that many had to live on.  There was nothing in the cupboard and no savings in the bank.  If a person didn’t work, they didn’t eat that day.

When we trust God for our daily bread, we trust Him to provide for our necessities.  While many people struggle with their finances, it is often due to living beyond their means and not because they can’t afford the bare necessities to live on.

While it is not a lack of faith to have food in the cupboard and money in the bank, God promised to take care of us.  It may mean working a job that is unpleasant or humbly accepting help from someone, but the promise is there for us.

When we ask for our daily bread, we ask that God will supply our needs.  Often God gives far more than our needs.  We can trust God to provide for us and meet our needs though if we simply ask in prayer.

God’s Will Be Done

Matthew 6:10

 …your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Very often, we pray and ask for our will to be done.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that we are asking for something sinful.  The prayers heard most often in church are for the health and well being of others.  But it is much better to ask for God’s will than our own.

We try to find meaning in the struggles of life.  Why does a very good Christian get cancer and someone who smoked and drank all their life have no health problems?  Why do dishonest people appear to get ahead financially?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  We’ll never know the mind of God or why certain things happen to certain people.  Sometimes things happen as a result of sin.  Sometimes God is trying to strengthen the faith of a person – the one afflicted or another close to them.  We just never know and should make assumptions.

When we ask for God’s will to be done however, even if we don’t get the response that we want, we know that God is in control.  Sickness is not a result of a lack of faith nor does it mean that people didn’t pray hard enough.  It is a fact of life and a result of the fall of man.

When God’s will is done, we can trust Him to help us handle anything that comes our way.  It may not be easy but God will never give us more than we can handle – with His help.  And with God’s help, knowing that what takes place is God’s will, we can handle anything.

Praying in Reverence

Matthew 6:9

 “This, then, is how you should pray:
” ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,

When it comes to prayer, attitude is very important.  Some people approach God in a demanding mindset.  Often in desperation, they demand that God answer their prayer in order to prove that He is real and that He loves them.  While God may still respond to such a prayer, it is not because He is threatened by a demanding tone or feels the need to prove Himself.

Instead, when we approach God, we should do so in reverence.  We are communicating with our Almighty Creator.  We wouldn’t do well to speak to our boss or parents in a bad tone; with God this idea is multiplied many times over.

When we speak to God, we need to remember that He is holy and we are not.  Even the greatest Christian is still saved only because of God’s forgiveness.  We have no right to demand anything and should come to God with an attitude of thanksgiving.

When we hallow the Lord’s name, we recognize that He is above us.  It is an act of humility and it is important that we recognize that God is the one who is capable of answering our prayers.  That is why we pray in the first place.  Our prayers don’t deserve to be answered because of anything that we have done.  We are simply calling upon our Creator for help.

When we remember who God is and who we are in comparison, it is easier to pray properly, asking for what is best for us and what will bring God the most glory rather than just what we want.

How We Should Pray

Matthew 6:9

 “This, then, is how you should pray: …

Prayer is a very important part of the life of a Christian.  It is our form of communication with God the Father.  Our relationship with God is just like any other relationship in that if we don’t communicate, the relationship is harmed.

Some Christians believe that prayer is simply asking God for things but it is much more than that.  For this reason, Jesus gave us an example of how we should pray.  As we look at various parts of the Lord’s Prayer over the next several devotions, we’ll see that there are many important parts to prayer.

While this prayer can be prayed by anyone as a kind of ritual, it is meant to be more than this.  It is meant to be an example.  Our prayers should be molded around the model that Jesus provided for us.

In order for us to model our prayers after Jesus’ prayer, we must first understand the elements of the prayer Jesus gave as an example.  The next few devotions will break down the parts of the Lord’s prayer and why it is important to pray each part.