of Jesus" part 3
Give Us This Day...
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
November 1, 2009
Matthew 6:11-12 (NLT)
“Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have
forgiven those who sin against us.”
we’ve reach a pivotal point in our series. For the past couple of
weeks, we’ve been working our way through the model prayer that Jesus
taught to His followers. We know it as The Lord’s Prayer, and a lot of
us even have it memorized. But truth be known, this prayer wasn’t meant
to be like a mantra that you have to repeat over and over. It was meant
to be a model or an example prayer for us to learn from.
that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve been working our way through this
prayer, drawing out principles that can enrich our prayer lives.
far, we’ve talked about how when we pray, we are talking to our Father
in Heaven. There’s a level of intimacy that we can have with Him as His
children, and He welcomes every one of us to be adopted into His
spiritual family. And while seeing Him as our Father conveys a level of
intimacy, it also conveys an attitude of submission. It recognizes that
He is the Father, we are the children, and therefore He is ultimately
in charge. That’s what we talked about two weeks ago.
last week, we talked about how we can pray for the Kingdom of God to be
established and to expand on this planet. That means praying for people
everywhere to come to know Christ personally. And we can pray for God’s
will to be done on earth. Not our will, but God’s will. Which means
praying for our world from our political leaders all the way to the
other end of the spectrum where you find the lost, the least, and the
lonely. We pray for God’s Kingdom and God’s will to be realized in
every part of our planet and in the life of every person.
And now we come to the next verse, which I already said is pivotal. Let
me explain why.
far, everything Jesus has taught us about prayer has been focused
vertically. It’s been all about our Father in Heaven, about His Kingdom
in Heaven, about His Will in Heaven and about experiencing them here.
It’s all been directed at God, but now Jesus moves on and shows us how
to pray for ourselves.
Which is actually a pattern you see a few different times in the Bible.
For example, think about the Ten Commandments.
1. Do not worship any other gods besides Me.
2. Do not make idols of any kind.
3. Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God.
4. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
5. Honour your father and mother.
6. Do not murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not testify falsely against your neighbour.
10. Do not covet.]
the screen, you see all ten in order. And what do you notice about the
first four compared to the final six? The first four are all focused
vertically, on our relationship with God. And only after dealing with
those four does the focus change to our relationships with each other.
how about when Jesus was asked about what the Greatest Commandment is?
Jesus responds with two commandments. The first one is about our
relationship with God…
Matthew 22:37-38 (NLT)
“‘You must love
the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your
mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
And then the second commandment is directed at our interpersonal
[verse 39 is added to what’s already on the screen]
Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)
must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all
your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is
equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
So again, moving from the vertical to the horizontal. And that’s what
we see here in this model prayer. After praying…
Matthew 6:9-10 (NLT)
Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come
soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.”
…Jesus moves from talking about God and about Heaven and moves on to
pray about ourselves.
[verse 11 is added to what’s already on the screen]
Matthew 6:11 (NLT)
“Give us today the food we need…”
again, we move from the vertical to the horizontal. But why? Why is
this important? Because it gets us in the right frame of mind. When we
start with God, only then do we have the right perspective to view
ourselves and our relationships with each other.
interesting… Most people think this is what prayer is all about: asking
God to give us what we want. But in the model prayer that Jesus gave
us, that doesn’t even show up until we’re over halfway through. Because
prayer is not about getting what we want; it’s about connecting with
God. It’s about having a heart to heart with Him. It’s about getting to
know Him and allowing Him to speak into our lives.
though it takes a while, Jesus does tell us to pray for our own
physical needs. “Give us today the food we need…” And that’s the extent
of it, as far as our personal needs go. Of course, this was just a
model prayer, and when we pray we’re going to personalize it a bit. So
when we pray about our needs, it’s going to take more than seven words.
But again, just in comparison to the rest of the prayer, praying for
our own physical needs is such a small part of what prayer is meant to
Of course, there’s more to this than I’ve shown you so far.
And in this model prayer, Jesus does tell us to pray more for ourselves
than just about asking for our daily food. But not about our physical
needs; it’s about our spiritual needs. Take a look…
Matthew 6:11-12 (NLT)
Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have
forgiven those who sin against us.
so this is the section of this model prayer that we’re going to spend
the next 20 minutes or so looking at. This section about praying for
ourselves. So what do we learn from these verses? When we pray for
ourselves, what are we to pray for?
Do We Pray for Ourselves?
Pray that God will provide for our basic needs
Matthew 6:11 (NLT)
“Give us today the food we need…”
verse says, “Give us today the food we need.” Or you probably know it
as “Give us this day our daily bread.” Which may or may not hold a lot
of meaning for you today, but for the Jews who were the first to hear
Jesus give this model prayer, their “food for today” held a lot of
Remember, a great deal of their identity as a nation
was wrapped up in the Exodus from Egypt and the 40 years they spent
traveling through the wilderness under the leadership of Moses. They
would move from place to place, and even if they stayed in one location
for a long period of time, the terrain wasn’t exactly favorable to
So with two million people, how did they survive? How did they eat?
God provided for their needs. During the night, when the dew set in, a
kind of food they called “Manna” would appear on the ground. So every
morning when they woke up, they would go outside and collect it.
we don’t really know what this Manna was. But we do know that it was
white, appeared like flakes of frost, and when raw it tasted like
wafers made from honey. When the Israelites gathered it, they would
ground it up, make it into cakes, and bake it. Plus, it was supposedly
something that if they didn’t gather it early enough in the day it
How about the name itself? What does “Manna” mean?
Well, apparently it means “What is it?” They had never seen it before,
so that’s what they said when they first saw it. “What is it?” It’s
also very close to the Egyptian term, Mennu, which means food. So what
we know is that Manna was some kind of a food that God provided for the
Israelites on a daily basis.
In fact, if they got greedy and
tried to gather up more than a days ration, it would go bad by the next
day. It would become infested with worms and would stink. So they would
go out each morning, collect only what they needed for the day, and
that was it. They only exception was that on the day before the
Sabbath… they day when they weren’t supposed to do any work… they were
instructed to collect two days worth, and on those days it didn’t go
That happened in the morning. And every evening, God
provided quail. So they had Manna in the morning, and meat in the
evening. That was their daily food.
So the Israelites learned
early on what it meant to depend on God. He provided for their needs
daily. And it was always sufficient. And this was passed down from
generation to generation, and was incorporated into their Scriptures,
and so was ingrained in they national psyche.
So when Jesus came
along and told them that when they pray they should ask for God to
provide their food for the day, I’m sure that their minds immediately
flashed to everything they had been told about how God provided for
their ancestors each and every day in the desert.
reminding them that God would provide for their needs, every day. He
wasn’t going to bow to their demands or satisfy their lusts for more,
but he would provide for their needs. Perhaps from time to time God
would bless them with more than they needed, the basic promise was to
care for their needs, not their greeds.
How easy is it, though,
for us expect and demand more from God? How often are we overtaken by
our greed? How prone are we to treat prayer like some great shopping
Back twenty-five or so years ago, there was a music video
put out by Lulu of Hee Haw fame. And really, it’s quite bad. I mean,
terrible quality. It’s sad to look at the early music videos and see
just how bad they were. But the song itself is kind of interesting. And
it’s all about how we treat prayer like a shopping list. Can I show it
VIDEO – Lulu, singing “Shopping List”
so real? Isn’t that how we tend to treat prayer, like some grand
shopping list? But Jesus talks about praying for the basics… asking God
for our food for today. He was talking about praying for our needs, not
our greeds… for things like food, clothing, protection, health, family…
In the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, there’s a prayer recorded
Proverbs 30:8-9 (NLT)
…Give me neither poverty nor
riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I
may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” And if I am too poor, I may
steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
So pray that God will provide for our basic needs. Secondly…
Pray that we will want what God wants
in this prayer, Jesus told us to pray that God’s will would be done.
Not “my” will, but “Thy” will. And I think a key to prayer is striving
to discover God’s will.
This is actually something we talked
about in our LIFE Group here this past Wednesday. We talked about how
prayer is not about convincing God to give in to our will; it’s about
us hopping on board with His will. There’s a verse in 1 John that says…
1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)
is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything
according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears
us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
the trick is to pray for what fits in God’s will. And how do you get to
know God’s will? Well, you get to know Him better. The better you get
to know Him, the better you’ll understand His will. So read His word
regularly, talk with Him daily, check out other devotional books and
group discussions that are going to help you understand who God is and
what His will is.
When I first met my wife… well, she wasn’t my
wife then. But when I first met Shera, I had no idea how much she liked
spicy food. The hotter the better. But it didn’t take long… just a
little time together and a few conversations, and I learned that she
likes hot spicy food.
Well, a little time with God and reading
His Word, a few conversations, and you start to learn who He is. And
you begin to understand His will.
Of course, that doesn’t mean
you’re going to know God’s will in every circumstance. Even Jesus had
to pray to His Father, “Not My will but Yours be done.” Our will won’t
always line up with God’s will.
But still, we should pray that
God will instill in us His values, His character, His wants, His
desires… and as that happens there will be a gradual shift of our own
wills as they begin to line up with His will.
And I think as you
pray you’ll discover that this happens naturally. As you spend time
earnestly seeking God and His ways, you’ll notice the shift within
yourself. Prayer is not so much about convincing God to give us what we
want, but it’s about us coming around to wanting what God wants. Prayer
The third thing I want to draw out of what Jesus teaches us there is
that when we pray for ourselves, we should…
Pray that God will forgive our sinful words, thoughts, and deeds
Matthew 6:12 (NLT)
“…And forgive us our sins…”
but why? Why is this important? Well, beyond the whole Heaven and Hell
thing, it’s important to pray for forgiveness so that our prayers won’t
be hindered by sin, so we can have an open line of communication with
God, and so our relationship with Him can be pure.
Psalm 66:18 (NLT)
If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have
unconfessed unforgiven sin in our lives can mean that God will not
listen to our prayer. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah tells us
basically the same thing when he says…
Isaiah 59:2 (NLT)
It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he
has turned away and will not listen anymore.
know, we’re living in a world today that likes to deny or ignore
anything that makes anyone feel uncomfortable. We’re not held
responsible for our actions anymore. If we do something wrong or have a
problem in our lives, it’s because of our parents or some traumatic
event that happened when we were young. Even our view of sin has
softened… we now call it a mistake, a lifestyle choice, an option, even
But the truth is that while we’ve softened our view
of what sin is, God’s view of sin has remained the same. He’s still
aware of it, He’s repulsed by it, and He knows just how devastating sin
can be in our relationship with Him. It’s a roadblock to our
communication with Him. So we need to confess our sins to God,
apologize for hurting Him, and allow Him to forgive us and restore us
into relationship with Him.
“Spirituality is not how little you sin, but how quickly you repent
when you do sin.”
~ Tim Elmore
don’t have to be perfect for God to hear your prayers, but if you are
living in deliberate defiance… if there is a closed closet in your life
that you will not allow Christ to enter… that acts as a barrier to
~ Bob Russell
Sin shuts us off from God. It hinders our relationship with Him. It
even dampens our prayers.
you ever tried to carry on a casual conversation with someone when you
know and they know there’s a problem in your relationship? There’s
something there, but you’re just not willing to address it? What
happens? Well, the conversation is very uncomfortable, it’s
superficial, it’s shallow… it may be polite but there’s no substance.
The problem in your relationship just cuts you off from each other, and
you’ll never be able to move on until that problem is taken care of.
is like that. It creates a barrier in our relationship with God. But
the good news is, it’s a problem that can be fixed. Jesus tells us to
pray that God will forgive us, and that’s exactly what will happen. God
will forgive us.
1 John 1:9 (NLT)
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
if you’ve been struggling in your prayers, and you just don’t seem to
be getting through, do a self-inventory. See if it could possibly be
because there’s unconfessed sin in your life. Confess it, and then you
can move on.
And connected to this is the fourth thing…
Pray that we extend that same forgiveness to others
God extend His forgiveness to us, and that empowers our prayers and
enables us to go deeper in our relationship with Him.
Matthew 6:12 (NLT)
“…And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against
this morning, Chris read a passage for us from Matthew 18. It was a
story that Jesus told about a servant who owed his king millions of
dollars. So the king was going to sell the man and his whole family
into slavery in order to pay the debt. But the man pleaded with the
king to the point that the king forgave the debt. He would never have
to repay it.
But then that same man went to a fellow servant who
owed him just a few thousand dollars, and he had that man thrown into
When the king heard what had happened, he was furious.
He forgave this man of a debt of millions, and then this man had the
gull to throw someone else in prison over a few thousand? So the king
had the man thrown into prison himself until he could repay the debt,
which of course would be impossible from prison.
You see, the
king in the story forgave the debt of his servant, and he expected his
servant to show mercy and forgiveness to others, too. And that’s what’s
expected of us, too. God offers us complete forgiveness for all our
sins, including the sin of treason against Him. So by what right do we
withhold forgiveness from anyone who has harmed us? As the king told
Matthew 18:33 (NLT)
“‘Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy
that’s a recurring theme throughout the New Testament. We’re often told
that since we have been forgiven, we should be forgiving. Like in
Colossians chapter 3…
Colossians 3:13 (CEV)
Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as
Christ has forgiven you.
And in Ephesians 4;
Ephesians 4:32 (CEV)
…Be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you…
to the story. When the servant refused to forgive the other man and the
king found out, what did the king do? Jesus told us…
Matthew 18:34-35 (NLT)
Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had
paid his entire debt.
“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive
your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
I ask you, what’s wrong with that picture? How do you make money? By
working. Where did the king send the man? To prison. What kind of job
do you expect he’d be able to find there? There’s no way the man would
ever be able to pay back what he owed. Even if he wasn’t in prison,
there’s no way he’d be able to pay back millions. But there he is stuck
in prison, with no hope at all.
And that’s the point. We can’t
pay back the incredible debt we owe to God. That’s why we so
desperately need His forgiveness. But He makes it clear that if we
refuse to extend that forgiveness to others, then our own forgiveness
will be null and void.
“He that cannot forgive others breaks the
bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach Heaven;
for everyone has need to be forgiven.”
~ George Herbert
relationship with God is directly affected by your forgiveness of
others. If that doesn’t motivate you to forgive, nothing will. Jesus
really drives this home at the end of this model prayer. Right after
teaching the prayer, He tags on…
Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)
you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will
forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not
forgive your sins.”
Wow, that’s pretty serious. So when you
pray, make sure you pray for and act on a forgiving attitude toward all
who have done you wrong.
Alright, that’s four ways in which
we can and should pray for ourselves. There is another area, which
we’ll talk about next week… overcoming evil.