As we continue to explore Jesus’ model for prayer, I want us to explore the third and fourth components of the prayer model Jesus taught his followers.
1. Pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Jesus teaches us to voice our needs to our Father. However, within our culture, we can quickly become distracted and consumed by “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches” (Matthew 13:22), “the pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14), and “the desires for other things” (Mark 4:19). This consumer-driven philosophy can deceive us and cause us to worry about the fulfillment of our daily needs.
Jesus encourages us not to allow anxiety over our basic needs to overwhelm our lives (see Matthew 6:25). Jesus referred to our essential needs as “daily bread.” Beyond just physical food (or bread), we can come to the Father and pray with confidence that He will provide for our daily needs.
Needs or Greeds, Bread and Steak
I have a difficult time determining what actual needs are in my life and what are areas of greed. Companies spend billions of dollars in advertising, trying to convince us that we can’t live without their products. God’s promise of daily bread represents what is satisfactory and straightforward in life. However, in America, we have moved well beyond just seeking the essential items necessary to live on.
God promises our daily bread, but he can also, at times, provide some steak for us. That is, God is not limited to only giving bread for us. God is “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). This tension between our greeds and the occasional steak God gives us is very challenging and difficult to maintain. That is why we must walk in a continual, on-going conversation with God. Remember, our Father is not limited to bread, but He has promised the bread.
2. Pray: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
This statement teaches us not to allow guilt from the things we have done or thought to shame us from God.
Instead, we are to receive His loving forgiveness and to release others from anything we might hold against them.
When it comes to the subject of confession in the life of a believer, one common question people ask is, “If God has already forgiven us of all our sins, why do we need to confess them? Aren’t we asking God for something that we already have?”
This question arises from the truth that in Christ, we are justified. All of our sins (past, present, and future) are entirely forgiven (Colossians 1:13-14), and there is nothing that condemns us anymore in Christ (Romans 8:28-29).
Judicial Forgiveness vs. Parental Forgiveness
Many Bible teachers distinguish between “Judicial Forgiveness” and “Parental Forgiveness” in explaining the role of confession in the life of a believer. One commentary on Luke states, “The issue is not one of entrance into God’s people, i.e., salvation, but the regular cleansing from sin that each believer needs. The scene is not a courtroom where the final judgment is being pronounced but a family setting in which a son or daughter confesses his or her sins not to become or remain part of the family but in order that nothing should spoil the relationship.”
As a believer of Jesus, I am not confessing my sin for forgiveness for salvation again. We do not need to “get saved” over and over again whenever we sin. Jesus has brought us into His kingdom, and we are now under the reign of grace.
Instead, the confession of a believer is for the forgiveness and restoration that takes place in a family.
When we commit daily sins, God does not disown us. We are his eternal sons and daughters. God can no more change our spiritual status as sons and daughters than I can change the biological fact Caleb, Alyssa, and Abby are my offsprings.
However, as children of God, if we believe that we can sin and completely ignore it, then we deny the truth of Scripture. Even though God has forgiven us, our daily sins still affect our lives in at least two ways:
- Daily sin creates a strain on our relationship with God.
- Daily sin leaves behind a residue of guilt, shame, and regret.
That is why we need God to cleanse us from our unrighteousness continually. When family members offend or sin against one another, their relationship can be damaged and suffer much.
It is so essential to restore family relationships through confessing and seeking forgiveness from one another. Likewise, God never wants our relationship with him strained; he desires our fellowship to be fresh and renewed daily.
We also need God to cleanse us from any guilt, shame, and regret of our sins. 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Remember, we are not confessing before a judge who is quick to condemn us to Hell, but before our, Father to remove the residue of guilt, shame, and regret. As we confess, the Father forgives and cleanses us completely.
In addition to confessing our sins, we are to also release others from ways they have wronged us. Paul tells us that “if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:13). In forgiving others:
- We must admit that someone has offended us.
- We release them their debt.
- Ask God for the grace to seek reconciliation with the person.
Making It Personal
As you pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” take time to thank the Father for his faithfulness, present your daily needs to God, and pray for others in need.
As you pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors:”
- Allow the Holy Spirit to search your life and reveal any sin (Psalms 139:23-24).
- Agree with God about what he reveals.
- Ask God to forgive you for that particular sin.
- Receive God’s complete forgiveness and cleansing of all guilt, shame, and regret.