Get ready to continue to dive into Jesus's most famous prayer - where He actually teaches us to pray, or connect with God. If you haven't read the first part, don't miss out and click here: Part I.
Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
Right after Jesus teaches us to focus on His coming kingdom, He then does a very slight transition. He now has us direct our focus to our personal needs, or as some people believe, our physical needs.
Notice the wording, though. Jesus is letting us know that this is an every day request. It is amazing that God wants us to constantly ask Him for our needs. He never gets tired of hearing from us! It almost seems like God wants us to nag Him:
He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1
But there is actually much more in this request than simply asking, or even begging for our needs. When we dig deeper into the Bible, we will discover that it always brings us back to the same theme over and over—Jesus Christ. In fact, the entire Bible is all about Him:
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. John 5:39
It is no different here. When Jesus teaches us to ask for our daily bread, He is actually telling us to ask for Him!
I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to Me will not be hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty. John 6:35
Jesus is our Spiritual Bread. But…there is even more to this request. Besides being the Bread of Life, Jesus is also something else. Did you know that one of the names of Jesus is The Word of God?
He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called “The Word of God.” Revelation 19:13
You might be asking what this could possibly have to do with asking for our daily bread. Since Jesus is the Bread of Life and the Word of God, we can now understand that the Bible is what God uses to give us our spiritual food.
But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of God’s mouth.’” Matthew 4:4
When we begin to realize that Every. Single. Need. in our lives will be taken care of by God, we will also begin to search for Him more earnestly. God knows what we need, and believe it or not, our spiritual needs are actually more important than our physical ones. Every one of us knows that our mindsets will drive us to do things that are either physically good for us or bad for us. This alone proves that we should be more concerned about our spiritual life than our physical one.
Therefore, don’t be anxious saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink?” or “With what will we be clothed?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:31-33
These verses found in the same chapter as the Lord’s prayer show us that God wants us to be first concerned about living for God. When we do this, He will always provide for our physical needs. Again, it all goes back to our faith in Him. Do we really trust that it is our heavenly Father that provides for us and not we ourselves or anyone else? He may use other things like our jobs or parents or other circumstances, but it is He alone who is in control of all things and the giver of all things.
But who am I, and who are my people that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand. 1 Chronicles 29:14 NIV
After Jesus teaches us to ask for our daily needs, He then moves to another very important necessity in our lives—forgiveness.
Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
If we read this request carefully, we will notice that Jesus is actually instructing us to ask God to forgive us in the same way we forgive others. Since that is so, then understanding forgiveness is essential. You can read an earlier post that may help with this called, Understanding Forgiveness.
This verse also makes it clear that forgiveness of others is a very important part of our faith. Much emphasis in Christianity is put on God’s forgiveness of our own personal sin, and we sometimes neglect the fact that we absolutely need to forgive others. If we happen pass over the teaching in this verse, Jesus makes it even clearer a couple of verses later:
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15
Hold up a minute.... What did Jesus just say? Did He say that we are not forgiven if we don’t forgive others? How can this be? Isn’t the entire basis of Christianity the forgiveness of my sins when I accept Jesus as my Savior? If so, then what does Jesus mean by this statement? Is He talking to unbelievers?
Yes, Jesus is talking to children of God, which makes them believers.
So if Jesus is saying this to God’s children, what could He possibly mean by this? It’s possible that the misunderstanding comes from a very prevalent teaching in our churches today. It is something that really needs to be clarified so that we can understand God’s word.
With all that being said, the last part of this blog, Part 3, will discuss what Jesus means by this seemingly controversial statement (but in reality is not controversial in any way) along with finishing the rest of His teaching on prayer. So stay tuned...
Has there been a time in your life when you truly felt connected with God?
Are there some needs in your life right now that you need to commit to Jesus?