Bread and Forgiveness
“Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us” (Luke 11:3–4a).
Kingdom-focused prayer emphasizes requests for God’s reign to become visible and for men to serve Him gladly, but it does not ignore our own needs. As today’s passage demonstrates, the prayer Jesus gives us includes supplications made on our own behalf.
The fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer has us asking the Father to “give us each day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3). Refrigeration has largely eliminated the threat of spoilage and the need to make everything we eat fresh on a daily basis. Most of the West does not worry about food scarcity and shortages. Consequently, we often fail to remember our utter dependence on the Creator to provide for all our needs.
We are to pray for our survival. God pledges to meet our basic needs (Ps. 37:25), not to provide luxuries at all times. Bread was a staple of the diet in biblical times and was served at nearly every meal. To have bread was to have life. However, this petition of the Lord’s Prayer is not solely about food to eat.
Jesus calls Himself the bread of life (John 6:35), revealing how He satisfies our spiritual needs as well. This is also evident in our asking God to forgive us our sins (Luke 11:4a). Though Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice has destroyed the power of sin and paid for our transgressions (Rom. 6:11), they still disrupt our fellowship with God. Thus, we are in continual need of forgiveness. Asking the Father to cleanse us from sin reminds us of our need and His fidelity (1 John 1:8–9).
Our request to be forgiven assumes that we are forgiving others (Luke 11:4a). If we do not pardon those who have wronged us, we cannot expect God to forgive us (Matt. 18:21–35). This does not mean our forgiveness is some good work that earns us favor with the Lord. Rather, when we imitate God and forgive others, just as He absolves those who repent and turn to Christ (Col. 3:12–13), we show that the Spirit has moved in our hearts to give us faith.
Finally, these petitions are to motivate our gratitude. When we are forgiven by God and when we see Him supply our needs, we are to burst forth in thankfulness for His kindness (1 Thess. 5:18).
Sometimes it is easy to forgive others but hard to accept the fact that God has forgiven us. But if we have turned from sin and have trusted Jesus, we have been truly forgiven. Rejoice in your pardon and forgive those who have asked for your forgiveness. Know also that the Father will supply all of your needs. So do not be afraid to ask, but know that He will often meet your needs in a way you do not expect.
Passages for Further Study
- Ex. 16
- Isa. 33:20–24
- Matt. 6:14–15
- Mark 6:30–44
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