(Matthew 6:9-13) This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hollowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Jesus taught this prayer to his Disciples. It is amazingly comprehensive. It starts out with the way we should address God. “Our Father” clarifies that God wants a personal and relational interaction with us. Then Jesus leads us into the praise and recognition that God is holy.
Does watching world news lead you to despair? “Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is the best prayer we can offer for the devastation we hear from news reports. We find comfort in God’s will. We trust in him for all things.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” This covers not just our food but the provisions we will need for the day. Jesus told us to not worry about tomorrow. Today has enough for us to deal with, so we pray for today.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” I prefer the word sins over debts; it seems to be more pointed. God has every right to demand justice and claim revenge over us for our sins. Instead, he sent his son to pay the debt for our sins. Justice has been served. In his grace and mercy, he forgave our sins and forgot his claim to revenge. Now he expects us to do the same for those who sin against us. Jesus paid the price for their sins as well as ours. We need to surrender our claim for justice and revenge to the Lord and forgive those who sin against us.
Forgiving others is difficult. As in all things we need Jesus’ help to overcome our flesh. The importance of forgiving others cannot be overemphasized. After his prayer, Jesus said, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14&15). Forgiveness, difficult as it may be, is required of God’s children.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” We have a weakness called our sinful nature. Jesus ends the prayer by asking for God’s help to overcome our weakness. We seek God’s protection from the one who would tempt us.
Jesus’ prayer is a personal pray for God’s children. It is not meant to be the only prayer. We also pray for the sick, lost souls, and many other important things that we want to bring before our Father in heaven. This prayer covers our daily need to connect with our heavenly Father, and it sets the tone for the day. Starting our day the way Jesus taught us to pray will definitely improve each day of the year for us. Living the way Jesus’ prayer directs us will definitely make 2023 more successful. Praying for and trusting in God’s will, trusting in God’s daily provision, actively forgiving others, and asking for God’s help and protection will go a long way towards that success.