Praying Through the Bible #126
TEXT: Matthew 6:9-13
We are continuing our in depth look at the six parts of what is called the Lord’s prayer. As a reminder, those six essential parts are as follows:
1. We praise and recognize God.
2. We put God’s will before ours.
3. We ask for our daily needs.
4. We confess our sins and ask for forgiveness of sin.
5. We ask God to deliver us from temptation and evil.
6. We praise and recognize God’s glory once again.
We have already looked at the first and second building blocks of this prayer — “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” and “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Today, we are going to look at the third building block in which Jesus Christ teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Now, if we are honest, we will admit that in our flesh, most of us do not naturally like this prayer. We do not want to have to look to God — or to anyone else for that matter — for our daily bread. We want to be able to look in our refrigerator, or in our deep freezer, or at least in our bank accounts and know that we will have food and other necessities for the next few days, weeks, and months. And, sometimes, God will give us the luxury of that blessing.
But why doesn’t God do that for all of us? Why doesn’t He give us provisions or the assurance of provisions for an extended amount of time? If you recall, He didn’t do that for the Israelites in the wilderness. God sent manna down each morning, and the Israelites were to go out and gather just what they needed for that day. On Friday, God sent down enough for two days (because the next day was the Sabbath) and the Israelites were to go out and gather what they needed just for two days. What was God doing? God was teaching the Israelites that they needed to trust Him and depend on Him for everything.
God wants to teach us that today as well. That is why Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Even though we may not like having to depend on God for our needs, the fact of the matter is we are already dependent on God for our very lives. Every breath we take is a gift from God. At any moment in this world, disaster can strike, and we can end up dead or seriously injured. D.L. Moody said, “A man can no more take a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough today to last him for the next six months; nor can he inhale sufficient air into his lungs with one breath to sustain life for a week to come. We are permitted to draw upon God’s store of grace from day to day as we need it!”
Jesus’ words were especially poignant for the poorer people of that day and time. Historians tell us that many of them were day laborers who were paid each day for the work they did. These workers would then go to the market, and most of the time, they would be able to buy just enough food for that day. The next day, they would have to get up and go to work again in order to be paid. They did not have the luxury of saving up a bunch of money or food.
Knowing that we are dependent on God should help us grow closer to Him and increase our loyalty and faithfulness to him.
We see a great example of dependence on God in the animal kingdom. Most animals do not store up food for themselves. Birds don’t have stockpiles of worms and berries in their nests. Lions don’t have dead antelopes and gazelles stored up in a freezer somewhere. They wake up each day just knowing that their Creator has provided the food they need for that day. Later on in this same chapter, Jesus Christ says, “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”
When was the last time you prayed for your daily bread? Some of us think that prayer is a high and lofty matter. We are alright with praying to “our Father who art in Heaven” and praying “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” But we often neglect to pray for the “little things” — like our daily bread. What happens when we fail to pray about these things? Ray Stedman writes that we begin to “take these things for granted, and gradually we succumb to the quite foolish delusion that we actually can provide these necessities ourselves. We become possessed with the incredible vanity that our wisdom and our abilities have really made these things possible, that we can supply these things quite apart from God. And when we begin to think that way, we find pride swells within us and a kind of blindness settles upon us, a blindness which darkens our spiritual insight.”
Dear friend, don’t take your daily bread for granted. Don’t take the simple things, the small things, the seemingly insignificant things of life for granted. Pray about everything. Thank God for everything. The fact that we must ask God for our daily bread — our basic, everyday needs ought not to discourage us. Rather, it ought to encourage us to pray because we know that we serve a God who cares about and who wants to provide for even the so called small things of life.
In closing, Joy Rice Martin, the daughter of the great evangelist and writer John R. Rice, wrote a beautiful song titled “Pray About Everything” many years ago. Allow me to share it with you now.
Once I was burdened, with many a care,
Problems too hard for my weak soul to bear,
Then in God’s Word came a message so clear,
Pray about everything!
Ask of your Father, He loves to please,
Unlock his treasure; He gives us the keys,
Claiming this promise I dropped to my knees,
Pray about everything.
Doubting and fretting can only bring shame,
Worry and fear will dishonor His name,
Go to your Saviour, His promise to claim,
Pray about everything.
Riches in Jesus, abundant and free,
Needs in our work, or whatever it be,
Ours for the asking, This only his plea,
Pray about everything.