Tag Archive for Matthew 6

The Lord’s Prayer

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Matthew 6:5-15

Tucked away in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount is the Lord’s Prayer. It has enriched my relationship with God in uncounted ways. But for our purposes here, let’s look at the Lord’s Prayer and focus on just one question: How does having God as our Father change the way we pray?

1.       When you talk to your Father, be simple. Be direct. Be honest. You don’t need to beg Him or badger Him into submission or bury Him in words. He already knows what you need before you ask. Just ask, then trust that He will give you what is best. He is your loving Father. Simple faith requires only simple prayer.

2.       Since your Father is perfect in power, wisdom, and love, what we need is always and only His best. The key to prayer is wanting only what God wants, and that should be the focus of every prayer. Pray for His glory, His kingdom, and His will. That should always be the deep cry of your heart.

3.       As you trust your Father, your usual needs and worries are boiled down into one request: Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11, NASB). Remember His promise:

“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [the necessities of life] will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, NASB)

4.       Weak and imperfect creatures like us cannot live in intimate relationship with our holy Father without confession and dependence:

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
(Matthew 6:12-13, NASB)

Admit your neediness to live as He wants. Without Him, sin is a debt we cannot pay and a trap we cannot avoid. But rely on Him:

God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB)

Jesus’ simple prayer models the naturalness of living in the presence of a holy God when He is our loving Father.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Our Father in Heaven
Printed Music & Lyrics

Forgiving Others

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Matthew 6:9-15

Notice that the Lord’s Prayer puts a condition on God forgiving our sins:

“Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Matthew 6:12, NIV)

If we want our sins forgiven, we must also forgive those who wrong us. This is so important that immediately after the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus emphasizes that one point:

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

Why would our Father, so anxious to forgive us, put such a condition on our forgiveness? Why must we forgive others in order to be forgiven? Why are the giving and receiving of forgiveness inseparable?

  • We cannot embrace forgiveness as the solution for our sins without embracing it for others as well. Either forgiveness is the solution for sin or it isn’t.
  • Forgiveness cannot flow to us until it can flow through us.
  • Until we grant forgiveness to the one who wronged us, we too are enslaved by their sin. We who were wronged continue to suffer – we suffer lovelessness, resentment, anxiety, anger, and more. We cannot enjoy the blessing and freedom of forgiveness until we both receive it for the wrongs we do and give it to those who wrong us.
  • We tend to excuse our wrongs and blame others for theirs. Jesus urges us to do the opposite: excuse others and be more aware of our own failings.

An unforgiving heart is an unloving heart. It is a heart diseased with self-centeredness and bitterness. We cannot enjoy an open Father-to-child relationship with our forgiving God if we refuse to both give and receive forgiveness.