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The Lord's Prayer

Saturday: Forgive Us Our Debts


Introduction

We are so glad you are joining us for these daily prayer posts. Throughout these weeks we have been listening to the prayers of the Bible and learning from them how to pray. This week we turn our attention to the model prayer Jesus gave His disciples when they asked him, "Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1)

Each devotion will take five to seven minutes of your time.

  1. We will look at an insight from those who know something important about prayer.
  2. We will listen to Jesus as He prays "The Lord's Prayer."
  3. We will reflect, asking the same four questions each day that invites us to look and listen with intent.
  4. And we will pray, for it is in praying that we learn to pray. And it is in praying that the Spirit changes our hearts.

May we encourage you to grab a notebook, a journal, something to write on as you do each prayer guide. Yes, it will add a few minutes to the time it takes to do the devotion, and it will also deepen your experience and shape your walk with God for years to come.

Look

If daily bread represents our basic material or physical wants, forgiveness sums up our first spiritual need. That this petition comes immediately after the prayer for daily bread is a reminder that material benefits are of little use, and provide limited happiness, if we do not possess spiritual blessings and especially the forgiveness of our sins.

Derek Prime, The Lord’s Prayer for Today

Listen

Our greatest problem is our broken relationship with God. Our deepest need is the forgiveness of our sin. The gospel addresses both. Fully and finally. So, why would we need to ask for daily forgiveness and in like manner daily express forgiveness to those who have sinned against us?

Go back to the first line in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father…” Yes, in Jesus our sins are forgiven, and we are declared just—being clothed in the righteousness of God. But we still sin. And when we do, our relationship with God (forgiven sons and daughters) and our position before God (declared righteous and clothed in Christ’s righteousness) do not change—ever. However, our fellowship with God—the intimacy and warmth of a Father with a child who lives aligned with the Father's wishes, desires, and instructions—is disrupted. This side of heaven, we will “disrupt” and “forfeit” the tender intimacy we were made for with God by our sins over, and over, and over. And thus, we restore that fellowship by confessing our sin and asking forgiveness over, and over, and over, and over…

Matthew 6:9-13

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
*For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Amen.

Reflect

  1. Having read the Word, sit silently for a minute and give God’s Word a moment to settle within you.
  2. Re-read the verses slowly and write down some thoughts that resonate with you.
  3. Ask the Spirit to help you see the deeper longings, desires or motives in your heart that those thoughts are pointing to. (for example: you may write down, "our forgiveness from God is the forgiveness we give others." The Spirit shows us not just what we receive is what we give, but reminds us it is only by His power we are forgiven and can give forgiveness to others.
  4. What are some reasons God makes the forgiveness we receive from Him, the basis of the forgiveness we give to others?

Pray

Throughout the week we'll pray "The Lord's Prayer" together, emphasizing a different line each day.

9Our Father in heaven, 
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Pause here, and make this poem by J.I. Packer part of your prayer today. Perhaps his framing of this part of the Lord’s prayer will shed the light and power we need to experience and extend the forgiveness that is ours in Christ…

“Forgive our sins as we forgive,”
—you taught us, Lord, to pray;
But you alone can grant us grace
To live the words we say.

How can your pardon reach and bless
The unforgiving heart
That broods on wrongs, and will not let
Old bitterness depart?

In blazing light your Cross reveals
The truth we dimly knew,
How small the debts men owe to us,
How great our debt to you.

Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls,
And bid resentment cease;
Then, reconciled to God and man,
Our lives will spread your peace.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
*For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Amen.

*Some of the earliest manuscripts do not contain this line.

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