I hope the first two days of this series has encouraged you in your prayer life. Today is the third and final installment of our look at Jesus’ lesson on prayer to His disciples. Yesterday we discussed three components of prayer that help us keep our prayer priorities straight by focusing on God and His purposes. Today we will cover the three components of the model prayer that deal more directly with us.
Give us each day our daily bread
Jesus did not mean that we can only ask God to give us bread. Remember, this prayer is meant to be a model. Jesus wanted His disciples then – and now – to know that we can bring our needs, both physical and spiritual, to God.
“Bread” represents the basic necessities for life. God invites us to pray for our needs, not luxuries. However, after focusing on the person of God and His Kingdom like the first three components showed us, most of us would not consider asking God for something frivolous.
Praying for our needs “daily” fosters a constant dependence on God and His grace. As God provides for this day, our trust in His faithfulness grows. We don’t have to know how He will provide for our futures, we simply know that He will.
Jesus’ use of “us” teaches us to pray not just for ourselves but for others too. Yes, let’s flood God’s throne with our needs, but let’s also pour out the needs of our friends, families, fellow Christians, and unbelievers. The Father wants to show Himself faithful in meeting our needs.
Forgive us our debts (sins), as we also have forgiven our debtors
Confession and repentance should be a regular part of our prayer life. Often, I’m aware of sin just as soon as I’ve committed it. Those times I immediately stop and pray. Other times, God makes me aware of sin later, during my daily time with Him. So confession and repentance are also a regular part of my daily prayer time.
There is a lot of debate among biblical scholars about the exact implication of the phrase “as we also have forgiven our debtors.” More debate than we have time to cover here! But just let me make a few general comments that could be helpful.
We can do nothing to earn God’s forgiveness. Christ did that for us on the cross. Yet, if we have received God’s forgiveness with the gratitude He deserves we should be willing to forgive others. Forgiveness will be fruit of our own salvation.
Lead us not into temptation (but deliver us from the evil one)
The Greek word translated as “temptation” in the NIV means “trial, temptation, testing.” This same word has been used in the NT to refer to God’s testing of our faith to prove it (James 1:2) as well as enticement to sin by Satan or our own fleshly desires (Matt 4:1; 1 Cor 10:13).
In the Garden, on the night Jesus was betrayed, He told His disciples to “Watch and pray so that you do not fall into temptation” (Matt 26:41). Jesus used this same word when He emphasized the vital link between prayer and standing firm in the face of temptation and trials. Sadly, the disciples failed to pray and therefore they failed to stand firm.
This humble prayer expresses our dependence on and need for God. Are you in the midst of a trial or temptation? Ask God to give you the strength to stand firm in trials and to bring you through to the other side. In the face of temptation, pray for the wisdom to see the way out He has provided (1 Cor 10:13).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Lord’s model prayer. Share with us!