“Pray like this:
Our 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.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9–13 NLT)
Because of the importance of the Lord’s Prayer and how much Jesus packs into these five verses, we are going to split them up into four devotionals. Today we’ll look at verses 11 and 12.
When the Israelites were living in the desert under Moses’s leadership, God provided food for them each day, manna from heaven. This was quite literally their daily bread, as whatever was collected in the morning would not last until the next day, except on the Sabbath when the manna would last for two days without spoiling. This daily collection of manna was a tangible sign of the Lord’s providence and provision for their needs.
When Jesus tells us to pray to God to ask him to provide our food for the day – what most versions translate from the Greek as “daily bread” – he is telling us to be like the Israelites collecting manna: we need to trust in God’s providence as he provides exactly what we need for that day. Jesus then immediately follows that up with telling us to pray for forgiveness for our sins. For those of us for whom prayer and food are only grouped when thanking God for providing it and asking him to bless the hands that made it, it can seem to be an odd grouping. Yet Jesus seems to couple these two, as if there is some correlation between them.
Perhaps Jesus is speaking to our continual need for a different kind of provision, one that doesn’t fill our bellies but feeds our souls. Though all of us who have chosen to follow Jesus have been forgiven through the blood of the Lamb, we still need to daily seek forgiveness for the ways we have wronged God and others and daily forgive those who have wronged us. It might even be an hourly need instead of a daily one. Let’s all practice the art of forgiveness – both giving and receiving – today, tomorrow, and each day after.