Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
This is my heart-cry day unto day.
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray. –Reitz
Prayer is a powerful tool that we can use to communicate with God. When we come to him with a sincere heart, he will always hear our petitions. In the previous post, we studied the first 3 petitions of the Model Prayer or the Disciples’ Prayer. In this post, we will study the last 3 petitions.
While studying for this Bible study, God revealed to me an amazing way to view this text. William Barclay explains the last 3 petitions in an extraordinary way and I want to expand on those. “In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life.” (Barclay) Let me explain further.
Matthew 6:11 – “Give us this day our daily bread.”
- When we ask God for our daily bread, we are asking for daily provision. These are the needs of the present. This is simply asking God to take care of our daily maintenance of life. Things such as the food we eat, the money to be able to buy the food at the grocery store, the money to pay the next bill, the gas in our cars, etc. All of these are things that are a part of life and by asking God to help us with our daily routines means that we trust him with not only the big things but the little things. This simple prayer guides our hearts into the place of knowing that God will supply the needs for the coming day.
- This petition teaches us to live one day at a time. What good is it to worry and be anxious about the future and the unknown? Jesus says in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Worrying about tomorrow’s, next week’s, or next month’s needs will only bring stress and unnecessary worry to your life. Ask God to provide for you for the day. Seek him and trust him because he cares about you.
- This petition also represents Jesus himself. In John 6:33-35, Jesus calls himself the “Bread of Life.” What an amazing thing to think that Jesus Christ is our living bread! We can be spiritually fed on Jesus every single day. Instead of “give us this day our daily bread,” we can say, “Lord, feed my heart with You!”
“Give me, Lord, both the bread of heaven, and of earth: that which feeds my soul, and sustains my body. For all I look to thee, my Father.” – C.H. Spurgeon
Matthew 6:12,14-15 – “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
- When we ask God to forgive our sins, we are asking for the past to be brought into God’s presence. To ask for forgiveness, you must come to a place in your life where you realize you are a sinner and need a Savior to redeem you of those sins. Jesus can do just that. 1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” Jesus came to this world to save us from our sins and an eternity in hell. All you have to do is repent or ask for forgiveness of your sins and believe and follow Him.
- However, in order for God to forgive us, we must forgive others. How can God forgive you if you don’t forgive those who have done you wrong? Colossians 3:13 says that we should, “make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” There’s no limit on how many times we should forgive someone. In Matthew 18, Peter asks Jesus if he should forgive a man of his transgressions 7 times. Jesus responds, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” (v. 22) In other words, keep on forgiving. Life is not worth being angry and bitter towards one another. Jesus said we should love one another, and to love each other means to forgive each other. God has forgiven us for so many things, therefore we should offer that same mercy to our fellow man.
- When forgiving another, we should understand the reason behind why someone did what they did. It’s easy for us to condemn others before we know the whole story. Jesus explains in Matthew 5:5 that if you show mercy towards someone, you will also receive mercy. We should also learn to forget as well as forgive. We can say that we forgive but if we do not forget, we could harbor feelings of bitterness. When God forgives our sins, he has forgiven them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). But, we must learn to love. When we understand the motive and learn to forget as well as forgive, we can learn to love that person the way that Christ loves us. When we love, we seek the highest good-will of others, no matter what they do to us. And this can only be done through the power of Christ in our hearts.
- Who in your life are you withholding forgiveness from? Seek the guidance and wisdom of God and ask him to give you the strength to forgive those who have mistreated and offended you. Make amends, forget their wrongs, and love them unconditionally.
“To be forgiven we must forgive, and that is a condition of forgiveness which only the power of Christ can enable us to fulfill.” – Wm. Barclay
Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
- When we ask God to help us in temptation, we are committing our future into the hands of God. The word temptation comes from the Greek word peirasmos which simply means putting one to the test. This word does not mean to seduce into sin but to be put into a situation to test loyalty and obedience. James 1:2-3 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” God does not use temptation to lead us into sin, but to test our faith. In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham by telling him to sacrifice Isaac, his promised son. God asked him to do this to see where his loyalties lied. Abraham almost sacrificed his son until an angel stopped him. He obeyed God even though it was a painful situation. The same thing happens today. God will often use temptation and trials to test our faith. When you are going through a hard time in your life, do you complain and groan about the misery you’re experiencing or do you see it as an opportunity for God to strengthen your faith in him? (Heart check for me!)
- Even Jesus was led away into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. God did not lead him there to sin but to be tested. Satan tempted Jesus in 3 areas: Physicals needs and desires; possessions and power; and pride (see Matthew 4:1-11). Satan still uses these areas to tempt us. If we are vulnerable in any of these areas, Satan will use them against us. 1 John 2:16 tells us, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” Satan used these areas to tempt Eve. He told her she could have all the power she wanted if she ate of the forbidden tree. Sin entered the world because she failed the test and gave in to temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted, but if we give in to the temptation, it becomes a sin and allows evil to enter our lives. When God leads you into a test or when Satan tempts you, turn to Jesus Christ for strength. He endured severe temptation, yet he did not sin. He did this so that he could identify with mankind and he knows firsthand what we are experiencing. Lord, keep us from being tested. But if we are, lead us through and strengthen our faith by your mighty power!
- JC Ryle explains that “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever,” we are declaring that, “he alone deserves to receive all ‘glory.’ And we conclude by offering to him our hearts, giving him all honor and praise, and rejoicing that he is King of kings, and Lord of lords.” This verse should be the words of our hearts and the motto of our lives.
This prayer brings the whole of God to our lives. When we ask for the daily bread of our present lives, this thought directs us to God the Father, the Creator & Sustainer of Life. When we ask for forgiveness, this directs our thoughts to Jesus Christ, the Savior & Redeemer. When we ask for help with future temptation, this directs our thoughts to the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Strengthener. (Barclay) “In the most amazing way this brief second part of the Lord’s Prayer takes the present, the past, and the future, the whole of man’s life, and presents them to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, to God in all his fullness.” (Barclay) This prayer, brings our hearts to a place of wholeness with God and it brings the wholeness of God to our lives.
May we use the Disciple’s Prayer as an example in our lives so that we will glorify God’s name and accomplish his will on earth.