Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread,
 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Here we acknowledge that only God can take care of the sin problem. If God does not forgive then we cannot be forgiven. He must grant it and we must ask for it. It is an act of grace. This takes us to the Gospel as outlined in the Scriptures. Why should the Father forgive us? Why should the God of heaven who cannot have sin in His presence, allow us in and grant forgiveness? Because it honours His Son and the work He accomplished. Because we come through Jesus Christ. Because we acknowledge that we have no righteousness of our own. Because He is our Great High Priest who has offered up the perfect lamb as a sacrifice for our sins – Himself.
As we forgive…
This needs to be taken seriously. This does not teach that we earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving others, but it does mean that when the true grace of God is received it will produce a forgiving spirit. It is best seen in the parable of the unmerciful servant – Matthew 18:21-35. Note especially the phrase in verse 32
Matthew 18:32 – Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
We will never be called upon to forgive as much as we are forgiven. It simply is not possible.
If you will not forgive it is because you are not a believer in Jesus Christ. You are not on your way to an eternity spent with Him. You are still unforgiven. You are not saved. Don’t dance around this. Don’t try to soften what Jesus is saying here. See what Jesus says at the end of this prayer in verses 14 and 15.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.