“Your Father knows what you need.”
1-3. Why did one sister feel sure that Jehovah knew what she needed?
LANA, a regular pioneer, will never forget what happened when she was visiting Germany in 2012. She feels that Jehovah answered two of her prayers. While she was on a train going to the airport, she asked Jehovah to help her find someone to preach to. When she arrived at the airport, she found out that her flight was delayed until the next day. Lana asked Jehovah for help because she had used most of her money and she needed somewhere to stay that night.
2 As soon as Lana finished her prayer, she heard someone say, “Hello, Lana, what are you doing here?” It was a young man whom she had gone to school with. He was with his mother and grandmother, who were saying good-bye to him because he was leaving for South Africa. When Lana told them about her situation, the mother and grandmother invited Lana to stay at their house. They asked many questions about her beliefs and her work as a pioneer.
3 The next morning after breakfast, Lana answered more of their questions about the Bible. Lana asked them for their contact information so that someone could continue to answer their questions. Lana returned home safely, and she is still pioneering. She feels that Jehovah heard her prayers, knew what she needed, and helped her.
We do not need to worry about our future needs
4. What needs will we discuss?
4 When we suddenly have a problem, it is easy to pray for Jehovah’s help, and he is happy to hear our prayers. (Psalm 34:15; Proverbs 15:8) But Jesus’ model prayer teaches us that there are more important needs that we must pray for. In this article, we will discuss how the last four requests of the model prayer can help us to be loyal to Jehovah.
“GIVE US TODAY OUR BREAD FOR THIS DAY”
5, 6. Why did Jesus teach us to ask for “our bread” even if we have plenty of food?
5 Jesus taught us to ask for “our bread,” not just “my bread.” Victor, a circuit overseer in Africa, explains: “I often sincerely thank Jehovah that my wife and I don’t have to be seriously concerned about where our next meal will come from, nor do we have to worry about who will pay the rent. Our brothers kindly look after us every day. But I do pray that those helping us will manage to handle the economic pressures they face.”
6 We may have plenty of food, but many of our brothers are poor. Also, some have been affected by disasters. Not only can we pray for them but we can do something to help them. For example, we can share what we have with them. We can also regularly contribute to the worldwide work of Jehovah’s people. We know that our contributions help our brothers in need.
7. How did Jesus teach that we should “never be anxious about the next day”?
7 After Jesus taught the model prayer, he taught us not to focus on material things. He said that if Jehovah takes care of wildflowers, “will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith? So never be anxious and say, . . . ‘What are we to wear?’” Then, he repeated: “Never be anxious about the next day.” (Matthew 6:30-34) We do not need to worry about our future needs. Instead, we should be content with our basic needs for each day. For example, we can pray for a place to live, a job to take care of our family, and wisdom to make good decisions about our health. But there is something even more important that we need to pray for.
8. What do Jesus’ words about our daily bread remind us of? (See opening picture.)
8 Jesus’ words about our daily bread remind us of something else that he said: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every word that comes from Jehovah’s mouth.” (Matthew 4:4) So we should pray that Jehovah will keep teaching us and will give us what we need to stay close to him.
“FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS”
9. Why are our sins like debts?
9 Jesus said: “Forgive us our debts.” On another occasion, he said: “Forgive us our sins.” (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4) He said this because our sins are like debts. In 1951, The Watchtower explained that when we sin, it is as if we are in debt to Jehovah. We owe Jehovah our love and obedience. So when we sin against God, we are not giving him what we owe him. The Watchtower said that if he wanted to, Jehovah could break his friendship with us. It added: “Sin is unloving toward God.”
Always thank Jehovah for the precious gift of the ransom
10. Why can Jehovah forgive our sins, and how should we feel about that?
10 How grateful we are that Jehovah provided Jesus’ ransom sacrifice to forgive our sins! We need Jehovah’s forgiveness every day. Jesus died for us almost 2,000 years ago, yet we benefit from the ransom today. We should always thank Jehovah for this precious gift. None of us could ever have paid the ransom that was needed to free us from sin and death. (Read Psalm 49:7-9; 1 Peter 1:18, 19.) The words in the model prayer “forgive us our sins” remind us that just as we need the ransom, our brothers and sisters do too. Jehovah wants us also to think of them and their relationship with him. This includes quickly forgiving them when they sin against us. Usually these are only small mistakes, but when we forgive our brothers, we prove that we love them. We also prove that we are grateful that Jehovah forgives us.
11. Why is it important to forgive others?
11 Because we are imperfect, sometimes it may be difficult to forgive those who offend us. (Leviticus 19:18) If we start talking about what they have done to us, others in the congregation may get involved, and this would affect the unity of the congregation. If we allow this to continue, it would show that we do not value God’s gift of the ransom, and we would not receive its benefits. (Matthew 18:35) When we do not forgive others, Jehovah cannot forgive us. (Read Matthew 6:14, 15.) Also, if we want Jehovah to forgive us, we must not keep doing anything that he hates.
“DO NOT BRING US INTO TEMPTATION”
12, 13. (a) What happened to Jesus after he was baptized? (b) Why should we not blame others if we give in to temptation? (c) What did Jesus prove by remaining faithful until death?
12 The words of the model prayer “do not bring us into temptation” remind us of what happened to Jesus shortly after he was baptized. God’s spirit led him into the wilderness “to be tempted by the Devil.” (Matthew 4:1; 6:13) Why did Jehovah allow this to happen? Jehovah sent Jesus to earth to settle an issue that arose when Adam and Eve rejected Jehovah’s rule. Their rebellion raised questions that needed time to be answered. For example, was there something wrong with the way Jehovah created humans? Could a perfect human stay loyal to Jehovah when tempted by “the wicked one”? And would it be better for humans if they ruled themselves? (Genesis 3:4, 5) In the future, when all these questions have been answered to Jehovah’s satisfaction, everyone in heaven and on earth will know that Jehovah’s way of ruling is best.
We can be loyal to Jehovah even in extremely difficult situations
13 Jehovah is holy, so he never tempts anyone with evil things. It is Satan who is “the Tempter.” (Matthew 4:3) Satan tries to tempt us in many ways. But we have a choice. Each one of us can decide whether to resist temptation or not. (Read James 1:13-15.) When tempted by Satan, Jesus immediately rejected him by quoting God’s Word. Jesus was loyal to God. However, Satan did not give up. He waited “until another convenient time” to tempt Jesus. (Luke 4:13) But no matter what Satan did, Jesus always obeyed God as his Ruler. He proved that a perfect human can be loyal to Jehovah even in extremely difficult situations. Yet, Satan tries to tempt Jesus’ followers, including you, to disobey Jehovah.
Jehovah is confident that we can stay loyal to him, and he wants to help us
14. What do we need to do to resist temptation?
14 The questions raised about Jehovah’s rule still need to be answered. So for now, Jehovah allows Satan to tempt us. Jehovah does not “bring us into temptation.” Actually, he is confident that we can stay loyal to him, and he wants to help us. But he never forces us to do what is right. He respects our free will. So he allows us to decide for ourselves whether we will be loyal or not. To avoid giving in to temptation, we need to do two things: stay close to Jehovah and keep praying for his help. How does Jehovah answer our prayers to resist temptation?
15, 16. (a) What are some temptations that we need to resist? (b) Who is to blame if we give in to temptation?
15 Jehovah gives us his powerful holy spirit to help us fight against Satan’s temptations. Jehovah has also given us the Bible and the congregation to warn us of dangers. For example, he warns us not to use most of our time, money, and energy on things that we do not really need. Espen and Janne live in a wealthy country in Europe. For many years, they were regular pioneers in a part of the country where there was a need for publishers. When they had a baby, they had to stop pioneering, and now they have two children. Espen says: “We often pray to Jehovah that we may not fall into temptation now that we are unable to spend as much time as we previously did in theocratic activities. We ask Jehovah to help us maintain our spirituality and zeal for the ministry.”
16 Another temptation that we need to resist is looking at pornography. If we give in to this temptation, we cannot blame Satan. Why? Because Satan and his world cannot force us to do anything that is wrong. Some watch pornography because they do not reject wrong thoughts. But many of our brothers and sisters have resisted this temptation, and we can too.
“DELIVER US FROM THE WICKED ONE”
17. (a) How can we show that we want Jehovah to “deliver us from the wicked one”? (b) What relief is near?
17 How can we show that we want Jehovah to “deliver us from the wicked one”? We must be “no part of the world” and must “not love either the world or the things in the world.” (John 15:19; 1 John 2:15-17) What a relief it will be when Jehovah removes Satan and destroys this wicked world! But until then, we need to remember that Satan has “great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.” He will do everything he can to stop us from serving Jehovah. So we must keep praying that Jehovah will protect us from Satan.
18. If we want to survive the end of Satan’s world, what must we do?
18 Do you want to live in a world without Satan? Then keep praying for God’s Kingdom to come, for God’s name to be sanctified, and for his will to be done on earth. Always rely on Jehovah to take care of you and to give you everything you need to stay loyal to him. Yes, do everything you can to live in harmony with the model prayer.