By Nicole Mcleod

We are continuing our in-depth summer study of the Lord’s prayer. We’ve finished our study of the first half of this prayer, and the first three requests which center on God’s glory. Today we begin the second half of this prayer where our requests turn to what we call life’s necessities ( vs. 11/12) food for our bodies, and forgiveness for our souls. Both are essentials for life in Christ, and our Father in Heaven is glorified in supplying our physical need for food and daily strength, and our spiritual need for grace and forgiveness for life in His kingdom.

Let’s pray:Lord, please bless our study of these verses and help us grasp their meaning for our lives today., Thank you for Your amazing grace, and we pray you will help us receive and share it, in Jesus name. Amen

Matthew 6:9-13 “In thismanner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven,Hallowed be Yourname.10Your kingdom come.Your will be doneOn earthas it is in heaven.11Give us this day ourdaily bread.12Andforgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.13And do not lead us into temptation butdeliver us from the evil one.For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matt. 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread.”

As we pray for our daily bread, we ask God to supply our need – be it for food, shelter, clothing, health, relationships and jobs. It’s a prayer for the daily portion of God’s provision for us to live on earth and live for Him. It may be for sustenance, strength, support wisdom, whatever the need is. God loves to take care of His children and we understand our dependence upon Him.

Some here are struggling with illness, and need medical care, treatment plans and medicines. others need God’s help with being a godly wife, mother or grandmother, praying for God’s help with the challenges or raising godly children in today’s world… We pray with You for God to supply these needs. His name is “Jehovah Jireh”— The Lord will provide, and He does this in His perfect way and in His perfect timing.

Ps. 62:8 “ Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

When the disciples learned they were to pray to God for their“daily” bread, they may have remembered the story they all heard growing up, of how God had supplied daily bread from heaven to Israel, in their 40 years of wilderness wandering. God fed them daily manna to teach them “that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3). The Israelites were only to collect the amount of Manna they needed for that day, to show both their obedience to God’s commands, and their faith in His ability to provide for tomorrow. And provide daily He did! One day at a time.

Moses warned the Israelites not to forget God when they got to the promised land, when life would be easy and prosperous. He said to them, Deuteronomy 8: 14, 17-18 “Do not become proud at that time and forget theLordyour God,” … “He (God) did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant, he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.”

These words are a good reminder to us (especially living in America) to be humble and thankful daily to God, for our daily bread and for all the blessings we enjoy, and always give thanks for all God has done for us.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of an old movie called Shenandoah? Jimmy Stewart plays a Virginia farmer during the time of the Civil War, and as his godly wife dies, she makes him promise to raise their seven children as "good Christians”. There’s a scene where they are gathered around the table at Sunday dinner and Jimmy Stewart, feeling the pressure of his wife's request, decides to say grace: They bow their heads, and he prays:

“Lord, we cleared this land, we ploughed it, sowed it, and harvested it; we cooked the harvest; it wouldn’t be here, and we wouldn’t be eating it if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you just the same for this food we’re about to eat. Amen.”

It’s funny to us, and that’s the point, but it sadly gives us a picture of the heart that has not been transformed by Christ or changed by God’s grace. People wrongly credit their efforts, work or intelligence for what they have, rather than acknowledge God as the true source and giver of everything we have. Just as Moses warned.

Phil 4:19-20 “ And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

May we give God the glory due His name for all we have, and all He supplies, more than we could ever know.

Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus taught his followers to, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

Good parents provide not only what their children need for life, but they also know what isn’t good for the well-being of the child. Our Heavenly Father loves to care for His children. He will give only what is best.

There is a wise prayer, similar to this petition, in Prov. 30:8-9 …give me neither poverty nor richesbut give me only my daily bread.9Otherwise, I may have too much and disownyouand say, ‘Who is theLord?’Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

Good prayer. We are not asking for lavish things, but we are asking God to be glorified in taking care of us.

God has already met our greatest spiritual need, and that’s our need for forgiveness of sin and restoration to Him through Christ, but He does not stop there. He has more to give.

Romans 8:32"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"

Do we have daily needs? Yes, we do in many levels, He hears our prayer, He will graciously give us all things.

Matt 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33Butseek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

In Jesus time on earth, daily bread was an uncertainty, as it is for many people around the world today. This petition is in the plural, Give us …so, when we pray for ourselves, and our families, our church family and community, and remember our brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world who need God’s supply.

*Data from United Way shows 31% of SLO County households in 2023 did not earn enough money to pay for necessities, such as housing, food, transportation, health care and childcare. We need to pray for our community and these families.

At Testify last month our mission team shared about the challenges faced by believers in the Dominican Republic, and how sponsoring a child for just $45 per month is literally life changing for them and for their families.

Praying for people fuels a compassionate concern for them in our lives. And as we pray, may God give us opportunities to be an answer to prayer to help people in need. We can pray, we can give or join with others who are meeting the needs for daily bread, and may God be glorified.

As foodis necessary for the body, forgiveness is necessary for the soul. Just as God provides our bread, He certainly pardons our sins.

Matthew 6:12,“Andforgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

When I first learned this prayer as a kindergartener at school, we recited: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I kind of knew what that meant. We trespass when we wander into places we aren’t supposed to be; when we cross lines and boundaries that we aren’t meant to cross. We wander off the path, break things, and make a complicated mess of life, relationships and the world around us. Trespasses, and debts are synonyms for sin – with subtle variations.

There are five Greek words used in the NT for sin. Jesus, here, uses a financial word opheilma, pointing out the debt our sins brings, and our spiritual bankruptcy. We owe a debt to God we cannot pay.

I heard it said that the greatest need of the human heart is to know peace, forgiveness and release from the guilt and shame of this debt, caused by sin. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ provides a cure, a way to receive peace with God, forgiveness of sin, and cleansing from guilt and shame, which reconciles us to God.

Forgiveness is offered to all by God on the grounds of Christ’s death. So, this prayer for God’s forgiveness, brings us face to face with the most important thing that Jesus ever did. He paid the debt we owe and did what we fail to do. He lived a life of perfect love. He fulfilled all that God requires of us fully and completely. Then He laid down that perfect life and paid the price of all our sins. He paid in full for our forgiveness. †

If you’ve responded to Christ in repentance and have become His follower, you have experienced God’s forgiveness of sin, you have been justified, reconciled to God and have been given a new life in Christ…. but as you and I know, in our day-to-day relationship with God, and with people here on earth, we need ongoing grace, forgiveness of sin and pardon. We may be surprised by our sins, and our ongoing struggle with our sin nature, but God is not surprised.

Because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, we can come as often as needed to the Father to ask for grace and pardon and know that He will forgive us. His forgiveness is available, and confession of sin is the way to receive pardon from God.

The Greek word forgive is Aphiemi which means to send away, to let go, to give up, to give up a debt by not demanding it, to remit it, to forgive it . The opposite of "to forgive it", is "to retain it", or literally, "to grasp, to hold onto." So, we are praying, ‘ Father, don't grasp or hold onto my sins. Instead, let them go; send them away; please write off the debt.’ And when He forgives, He does it, He writes off the debt, sends it away.

Ps.103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Forgive us our debts is a plea for mercy and for grace. For mercy saying, "God, don't give me what I deserve", and for grace saying, "God, keep giving me the opposite of what I deserve."

Psalm 86:5 “ForYou, Lord,aregood, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”

We confess sins as often as needed and receive forgiveness.

There is a passage of scripture we need to think about often, in 1 John chapter 1

1 John 1:5-7 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, thatGod is light and in Him is no darkness at all.6If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.7But if wewalk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1:8-10If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9If weconfess our sins, He isfaithful and just to forgive usoursins and tocleanse us from all unrighteousness.10If we say that we have not sinned, wemake Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Here is a simple ABC plan for confession of sin.

  • Acknowledge the forgiving and merciful character of God. David in Psalm 51 said in essence, God, You're gracious, be gracious to me; You're merciful, be merciful to me. You promise to forgive. Forgive me.
  • Believe in what Christ has accomplished for us. We receive forgiveness by grace through faith, by believing that Jesus’ death on the cross purchased the forgiveness we ask for. Romans 3:26 says, “He is both just, and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ.”
  • Confess – agree with God that our sin needs His pardon and accept full responsibility. My sin is not somebody else's problem, it's mine. Ask for His forgiveness and for help to walk in repentance.

Matthew 6:12b“…as we forgive our debtors.

Forgiving others is an important part of our new life in Christ, it is to be our practice and habit to forgive as we have been forgiven. …. Note the little word, “as” here in our verse, it is the key word in this prayer. Forgive us aswe want God to forgive us. We desire full pardon and so we are to give it.

Col. 3:13 “... forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even asChrist forgave you, so you also must do.”

Eph 4:32, "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

Forgiveness is vital in maintaining peaceful personal relationships especially with people we are closest too . It’s a decision, an act of our free will, and often takes prayer, help, encouragement, concentrated spiritual strength to do it.

1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved,let us love one another, for love is from God, andwhoever loves has been born of God and knows God.8Anyone who does not love does not know God, becauseGod is love.

Praying this prayer daily will help us keep short accounts with God and with people in our lives. As God has given forth forgiveness to us, so we forth give our debtors up to God and let them go. Remember the Greek word for forgiveness, “Aphiemi”, means to send away or let go. We let it go, and let God deal with them. We let them out of the cage we kept them in our heart, and we are the one set free.

Mark 11:25-26 “And whenever you stand praying,if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

You see, it’s a choice – we either hold onto unforgiveness and suffer spiritual and emotional consequences of disobeying God, or we release our debtor, in prayer, by faith, and turn them over to God.

Please turn to Matthew 18 and read the story Jesus tells about forgiving others as we are forgiven.

Before he tells the story, Matthew 18:21-22tells us that “Then Peter came to him (Jesus) and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someonewho sins against me? Seven times?”22“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” What is He saying? The answer is not 490 times, Jesus essentially said, “As many times as it takes.” Jesus wants His followers to be willing to forgive and to be a forgiving community.

I ask you to pause now and read the story, let it speak to your heart. It has a lot to say to us about the importance in God’s eyes of forgiving others.

Summary: (Matt. 18:23-35), Jesus tells a story about a servant who owed a huge debt to his master, of 10,000 talents, approximately $10,000,000. His master showed the servant undeserved mercy and forgave the debt, and let the servant go free. Well, that servant was owed approximately $20. from a fellow servant, and demanded payment, and had the poor man (his debtor) thrown into prison because he could not repay the money. When the king found out about this, he was very displeased!

Matt. 18:32-35“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. (Jesus then said) 35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

What are some lessons we can take from this powerful story? Make note of what you thought.

Here is what I see.

1.God our Father and Master has forgiven us an enormous debt simply because He took pity on us. We did not deserve this! He has called us to extend forgiveness as He has forgiven and uses this phrase, forgive your brother or sister from your heart . They do not deserve this! But this is not about them and what they did or didn’t do. This is about our relationship with God, our Master, our Father, and giving out what He gives us.

2. Until we release the person(s) who have offended us - we are the one imprisoned in bitterness. Bitterness affects everything and everyone in our lives. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15)

We are called to follow the example of Jesus. He is the ultimate example of forgiveness to us. Looking upon those who put him on the cross, he prayed, “ Father forgive them for they know what they are doing.” We are never more like the Son of God than when we choose to forgive. No one suffered more unjustly than Jesus or forgave more freely. When we forgive our enemies and those who offend us as Christ did, His life is displayed in us, and He is glorified. It’s a spiritual issue.

“When we forgive others, we are magnifying the power of the gospel. We are declaring that there is something more important than us in this world. We are declaring the worth of Christ and his commands. We are showing the power of a changed life in the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus knew how important it was going to be for His disciples to understand and practice forgiveness, so at the end of this teaching, he emphasized it again.

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Some have been troubled by these verses, but keep in mind what they are saying. The merciful obtain mercy. Forgiveness is experienced by the forgiving. We already know that we don’t earn our salvation by forgiving, because the Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith – not by works, so how are these things connected? They are connected at the cross, where our vertical relationship with God intersects with our horizontal relationship with others. Jesus is at the center point, and He is Lord. He says forgive; we are to forgive. Christ forgives us, it brings a profound change of heart, and a new life that will express itself in a desire to follow Him. Forgiving others doesn’t make us a child of God but is a proof that we are a child of God. It is a fruit of our new life, born of God’s grace and mercy, showing forth grace and mercy as He is gracious and merciful. He is merciful and gracious and leads us to be as we follow Christ.

Forgiving others is very difficult without the help of the Holy Spirit. But Jesus does not ask or expect us to do anything that is not possible with His help. The Holy Spirit is our Helper, and He will help us to obey God and do what we don’t have power to do in ourselves. AS God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Unforgiveness stifles us spiritually, but we can ask the Holy Spirit to empower us and help us to get past our anger and hurt feelings and come to a place of willingness to obey God and forgive. There is no offense that is worth separating us from fellowship with God and the blessings He has promised to those who love and obey Him.

Is there anyone you need to forgive today? Can you ask God to help you? Does someone com to your mind as I am talking, or does a dark feeling come when you think of people who have hurt you? This would be the person I hope you will ask God to help you forgive. Pray this person will come to repentance.

For many, forgiveness is a process that can begin today. If you are struggling to forgive, just take one step of faith in that direction. Trust God and let someone pray with you about it after the study. You don’t have to share the details, because God knows. Ask Him for a willingness to forgive the debt. Sometimes we have to make determined choices to trust God in this to find freedom and healing.

I can only share my own experience. My relationship with my divorced parents was very strained when I came to Christ, and they didn’t like my decision to follow Jesus, so for a time things became worse. Considering these teachings, one day I sat down and decided to pray to forgive them everything and forgive everyone else in prayer, so I set aside time and tried to remember and forgive every offense and offender, bring it to God and forgive. (I used to think my problems were everyone else’s fault). As I emptied myself of unforgiveness before God I began to sense God’s peace, and my outlook began to change as God’s grace was flooding my heart. I began to see my fault in these relationships for the first time. I confessed that too and realized, I was receiving God’s forgiveness, forgiving others and even beginning to forgive myself in the process - it was so freeing! When I called my parents to apologize to them, they thought I had lost my mind! God had done such a transforming work in my life, and it was an ongoing relationship, so forgiveness kept going too. They hadn’t changed, but God changed me, but at the end of their lives, both came to Christ, one more certainly than the other, but what amazing grace.

Let these verses encourage you to repent of unforgiveness, grudges, bitterness, be forgiven and have a pure conscience towards God and others. And as we do this, day by day, we will also experience the joy of forgiveness and freedom and be released of sin's hold on us as well. Forgive us Lord, today as we are forgiving others today too. May God help us in Jesus name, amen.