Chapter 6:11-13 (ESV) - “Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day 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 evil.
Question to consider: Why do we pray for God to meet our needs daily?
In addressing the crowds about prayer, Jesus spoke against those who would use it as a show to appeal to men or as a superstition to manipulate God with their babbling. Instead, Jesus instructed the crowds that prayer was a way for God’s people to address Him as a young child addresses a loving father whether we approach God in secret or pray in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. God knows what we need even before we ask so when we bring our requests to Him, our greatest desire is that His good will is accomplished in the world, even if it means that our request is delayed or denied.
Asking for our daily bread I would guess is an idiomatic expression dating back to the Exodus when God supplied the daily manna to Israel. Obviously we cannot survive without water, and God said in Deuteronomy 8 that man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. So I think the prayer for daily bread is that God will meet our needs while keeping us dependent on Him. Often, the more someone receives in material blessings, the easier it is for them to depend upon their wealth or their abilities rather than God.
Our debts in the context of this prayer relate to our sin debt before God. Our lives should be centered around repentance and the forgiveness of sins so that we demonstrate the fruit of repentance. There is no room for us to be unmerciful to others since we have been forgiven so much. The heart of this prayer would have resonated with Matthew who at one time had much and was living apart from God, but was forgiven much and so faithfully proclaimed forgiveness of sins to other tax collectors and sinners.
The final petition of this prayer was to be spared from the evil one’s snares. As Peter wrote, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9) Peter understood what it meant for the evil one to sift him as wheat. Jesus had warned them to watch and pray that night in Gethsemane, and He instructs us to pray this same thing daily.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for meeting our needs. Keep us dependent on You as Your dear children and save us from the things of this world that would trap us and lure us away from You. Amen.