Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors – Matthew 6:12
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, he responded with what is commonly known as the “Lord’s prayer.” Embedded in the language of the prayer is this specific request for forgiveness.
It is evident from the content of the prayer that our Lord meant for us to pray after this manner daily, because it includes a request for this day’s daily bread. It is therefore equally plain that Jesus is instructing us to confess our sins daily and ask for God’s forgiveness.
Too often we allow a long time, and many unconfessed sins, to amass before we go to the Lord in prayer. As a result, we begin to feel estranged from God; our guilty conscience then makes it even more difficult to go to him in prayer at all.
It is best to keep “short accounts” with God, going to him regularly with our sin debt and allowing him to wipe it clean. We then delight to go to him for a regular time of confession, communion, and refreshing.
Notice, also, how this daily forgiveness is tied purposefully and inseparably to our own forgiveness of others. Jesus, in effect, couches this prayer in such a way that we must either forgive others completely and daily, or we are cursing ourselves each time we pray!
“Forgive us as we forgive others,” Jesus tells us to pray. Have you taken your sin-debt to God in prayer today? Have you forgiven others as you yourself hope to be forgiven?