Matthew 6:11-15, Disciples, pray for yourselves
Tod Kennedy, October, 2005
Matthew 6:9-15, The Disciples’ Prayer. See the previous lessons for the introduction, setting, and purpose for this prayer.
Introduction to Jesus’ lesson in Matthew 6:9-15
Principle: Jesus made prayer a matter of the believer and God, not a matter for public recognition like the Pharisees made it.
Jesus gives his disciples a model prayer specific for their ministry. There are three sections or parts to this prayer.
1. Matthew 6:9 is a prayer for due honor to the Father (first request).
2. Matthew 6:10 is a prayer that the Messianic kingdom will come soon (second requests).
3. Matthew 6:11-13 is prayer for the disciples themselves as they proclaim the Messianic kingdom (third requests).
According to Warren Wiersbe “We have three essentials for effective praying.
1. First there is relationship: “Our Father, who art in heaven” (v. 9).
2. Then there is responsibility: “Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done” (vv. 9, 10).
3. Finally, there are requests: “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (vv. 11–13).” Something Happens When Churches Pray, W. Wiersbe, p.118
Matthew 6:11-15, Daily Bread and Forgiveness
Matthew 6:11-15, The Disciples’ Prayer
1. This section begins with a request for their daily needs while they travel and proclaim the kingdom message (6:11), and by application as we serve God we can also request God to supply our daily needs.
a. “Give us” is again an aorist active imperative 2nd singular of didomi, which is the normal word meaning “to give.” The aorist imperative stresses a summary command, but when spoken to a superior is expresses a serious request.
b. This “daily bread” Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον, literally is bread for being or bread for our substance for today. This is bread for living and this is a daily necessity. It refers to food in particular, but also to daily need for clothing and shelter.
i. Epiousion has the meaning of what one needs that day. It is only used in this prayer, here and Luke 11:3. Jesus taught them to pray each day for the needs of that day.
ii. Just as Israel was not able to hord manna, but could only take that for the present day, so we should pray for the daily supply of God’s provision. Daily, daily, daily. Tomorrow can take care of itself.
1) Jesus taught those believers to pray for the daily needs.
2) We are to do the same.
iii. Matthew 10:9-14 instructs the disciples to seek their provisions as they travel from city to city.
iv. This same principle is illustrated and taught in Matthew 6.25-34. Matthew 6:31-32 in this same context has to do with daily provision. They, of course, would need their food, clothing, and shelter met while on the road proclaiming the kingdom message.
c. What are requests that we can make to God?
2. We can depend upon God to supply that which we need as we trust him and apply is word.
a. 2 Corinthians 9:8 teaches us that God will provide everything that we need so that we may have plenty to supply Christian service.
b. Philippians 4:19 teaches that when we rightly give to God’s work He will supply all our needs. We cannot out-give God.
c. 1 Peter 5:7 teaches us that God cares for us and so we can really cast our cares upon him.
d. Hebrews 13:5-6 teaches us that we do not need to have a love of money and we should be content with what we have because God will never desert or forsake us. He continually has each of us in mind. After all, Jesus is the good shepherd in John 10 and the chief shepherd in 1 Peter 5. The shepherd cares for the sheep, and we are his sheep.
e. Romans 8 also promises that God works things in our lives for good.
f. What Scripture passages come to mind that are personally helpful to you.
3. “And forgive us our debts” refers to sins in the day to day life of believing disciples. This refers to God’s forgiveness as they forgive other people. This is day to day in the family forgiveness of others.
a. This is not judicial forgiveness granted upon faith in Christ as savior, as in Acts 10:43. That forgiveness was granted once and for all which was based on the work of Christ (Ephesians 4:32). This forgiveness was most likely for sins committed against others that disrupted the fellowship and service. If the disciple would not forgive another believer, then this attitude blocks God’s family fellowship forgiveness.
b. Jesus gave this statement while under the rule of the Mosaic Law. If the disciples would not forgive others, God will not forgive them. This does not affect the disciples’ eternal salvation.
c. The practical application for the disciples is for good relations in the service of Christ. Forgiveness was a visible part of the disciples’ ministry
i. because forgiveness reflected what Christ came to offer mankind,
ii. and because the Pharisees were so unforgiving.
d. In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus answers Peter’s question about how many times one needs to forgive another. Jesus answered that he (and all believers) must forgive as many times as necessary (seventy times seven).
e. Now under grace in the church, If we do not forgive others, we harbor mental attitude sins. If we do not forgive others, we deny others the grace of God that we want for ourselves. If we do not forgive others, we are just like the Pharisees. And, If we do not forgive others we are rejecting Ephesians 4:31-32.
f. And, of course, if we in the church do not forgive others we are sinning and remaining out of fellowship with God and at the same time cutting off the power of the Holy Spirit and therefore undermining our service (John 15; 1 John 1).
4. “And do not lead us into temptation” means to keep us from the kinds of test that we will fail. God does not tempt to sin (James 1:13). So it cannot mean God can lead us into temptation to sin. Temptation comes from our sinful natures, from the world system, and from Satan’s system. All tests and temptations must travel through our volition and the sinful nature gets a chance to cause us to sin.
a. James 1:2 and 1 Peter 1:6 use the word peirasmos in the sense of a test to strengthen and bless.
b. Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38 use the word for an area of possible failure.
c. The request is that God our Father will direct the disciples away from areas of likely failure and sin.
5. “But deliver us from evil” in context refers to deliverance from specific areas and people who would cause the disciples to fail and to sin.
a. We might say from our areas of weakness and people who cause us problems. The phrase translated evil is tou pornerou. It could refer to Satan himself, but in context seems to be linked to “lead us not into temptation” as explained above.
6. The doxology recognizes why prayer and why we can be confident in prayer. God the Father is supreme. Prayer to him is prayer to the king, the omnipotent God, the one for whom all creation exist.
a. God has the kingdom.
b. God has the power and authority.
c. God has the glory.
7. Matthew 6:14-15 further explain the forgiveness sentence.
a. This statement was given under the rule of the Mosaic Law.
b. God will withhold temporal forgiveness from those disciples who insist on not forgiving other believers. This was a matter of day to day life and affects their fellowship and service. This was not a reference to eternal life forgiveness.
Some final applications from the Disciples prayer.
1. Address our heavenly father in a reverent manner.
2. Recognize and ascribe to him praise.
3. Pray that the Father’s plan for Israel—the promised kingdom will soon be realized and with it pray that God’s will shall be done on earth.
4. Pray for physical sustenance while serving God.
5. Forgive other believers and seek God’s family forgiveness when needed by confession of personal sins.
6. Pray for preventative guidance by God the Father so that we shall not be in a condition or place of likely failure, but instead may experience spiritual deliverance from the world, the flesh, and the devil.