We’ve been on a journey of learning how to pray in way that matters.
I am so grateful that some of you have mentioned that this has been a helpful journey.
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with prayer. Especially seeing the results of powerful praying and wondering how I can pray in a way that matters.
At the end of this post there is a recap of what we have learned so far. If you want you can scroll down and read that first if it’s your first time joining us. Or…. just jump in now.
Our source for this prayer journey has been Matthew 6
where Jesus taught his followers this prayer:
“This is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
let your name be kept holy.
Let your kingdom come.
Let your will be done on earth
as it is done in heaven.
Give us our daily bread today.
Forgive us as we forgive others.
Don’t allow us to be tempted.
Instead, rescue us from the evil one.
Today we’ll consider verse 11.
Give us our daily bread today.
Isn’t it interesting that this verse begins with the word ‘give?’
The Lord’s prayer is a prayer of humility. It’s an acknowledgement of who God is, his greatness, and his power. It’s also an acknowledgment that without him and his provision in every area of our lives we’re toast. All our striving is nothing.
So when we begin with the word give… we are acknowledging that God is our provider. But maybe even more, to pray ‘give us’ is to say… you, Lord, own the cattle on a thousand hills, everything in heaven and on earth belongs to you. These few words are loaded with the true assumption that unless God provides it we have nothing.
When we ask God to give, we’re asking him to open his hand which has everything we need for breath and life and expect him to provide what we need. There should be no doubt on our part of his ability to take care of us. It’s also a reminder to us that it is arrogant of us to think we are capable of taking care of our own needs.
If I have learned anything the hard way… these past 6 years have been God’s way of teaching me that it isn’t the work of my hands that puts a roof over my head or food on the plate… it’s HIM and only him. There have been times where we only had a carton of eggs in the fridge or a box of oatmeal in the cupboard…. but I did not go hungry. We more and more understand that it’s God who puts the money in the checking account… not us. Does that mean that we quit working hard. No! In fact, we give our best all the time because we work for God, not man. Whether we have little or a lot… God provides it. And either way… we are grateful.
I find it interesting that we are to pray and ask for our daily bread. God wants us to rely on him for the provision of today. Not tomorrow. Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will have its own worries. God wants us to live in the moment. It’s in the moment that we find contentment. We cannot do anything to change the past and we have no idea that next week will even come. If you think about it… it’s actually very freeing to only be concerned for today. I’m not suggesting that we live in such a way where we eat dessert first, or party like there’s no tomorrow. No, we still plan our menu for a week or a month and shop and save accordingly. But, what we don’t do is worry about it. When we ask God for our daily needs, we can anticipate that he will meet those needs, and he knows what we will need later and our part is to be good stewards of his provision.
Jesus directs us to pray for our daily bread. What is more basic than our need for bread? To be honest I don’t eat much bread… this highly processed food heavily laden with chemicals from field makes my elbows hurt. But, before factory farming, bread was considered the staff of life. And was so essential to our lives that Jesus even referred to himself as the bread of life.
What’s essential to your daily life? That’s what you ask for.
And then… we ask that daily bread be provided… today. Though it seems that God often comes through with answers to my prayers a day or a week after I have the need… he still provides. We need to remember that sometimes there are other people in the equation and because we live in a world where God has given us free will we and others may make choices outside of God’s will and we reap the consequences. I’m reminded of people who are living in corrupt societies where food does not get to their door because of selfish tyrannical leaders. Man gets in the way of God’s provision. God does not change the laws of nature to make his provision for us… he works within it. These are the tough areas where we have a hard time wrapping our heads around the fact that God can make things happen but he does not work like a fairy godmother sprinkling fairy dust on people to make good things happen. He’s about the heart and working in and through people. When we harden our hearts to him… we prevent him from working in our lives and in the lives of others. And let’s not forget that even though God is good all the time… we live in a fallen world where Satan reigns. That makes it even more imperative for us to “get” this posture that God desires from us. One where we come before him totally expectant that it is him and only him who will be our provision… for today… for everything we need for living.
Give us our daily bread today.
This brief sentence prayer is loaded in its meaning. It reminds us
- that God is our one and only provider,
- that we can pray expecting God to provide,
- that God will provide the essentials of life we need — not what we want,
- that his provision is for today — not tomorrow.
Is your prayer time becoming richer and more powerful through these meditations?
Let’s take a brief look back to recap…
We began by looking at Matthew 6:6-8 NLT and discussed the first steps in learning how to pray in a way that matters.
The first is to recognize that our prayer time is something to be treasured, it’s a time of intimacy with God, and God rewards us for spending time talking with him.
Second is to remember that God already knows what we need before we ask. Because of this intimate relationship we have with him we don’t have to explain things and we can relax and be completely honest.
Third is to follow Jesus’ very specific guidelines for praying which are outlined in Matthew 6:9 GW. I love that he tells us HOW to pray.
Fourth is to not only address God as our Father in heaven, but to also tell him (and ourselves as hearers of our prayers) how he is set apart from us. It humbles us as we acknowledge his grandeur. Speaking his attributes changes our minds and helps our prayers to become more expectant… and I believe, more bold and powerful.
Fifth is to intimately align ourselves with God in this covenant relationship we are so blessed to have with him. To lift his name first and foremost fulfills God and us.
And… Sixth is to open ourselves up to having God’s kingdom come into our minds, our hearts, and the world around us. When we do, we think, act, and respond to God differently. And like Jesus we choose submission to the Father who loves us and knows what’s best for us and this world.
TODAY is the First Day of Advent.
Let me encourage you to add a beautiful dimension to your holiday calendar by observing Advent through devotional readings and candle lighting. Following are some posts that contain ideas and links to make observing Advent truly meaningful.
I’m so excited that you’ve joined me here for JoyDay! I look forward to this time where we give thanks in community…. for the good and the not-so-good. It’s an amazing way to re-set our compasses for the week. To encourage one another. And most of all to make our “joy-meters” soar.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, give thanks,
because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Won’t you join me in looking back over the last week and counting just ‘seven’ from a whole week’s worth of gratitude?
Thank you Lord for…
- YOUR provision… our daily bread.
- the use of a sewing machine. Oh how I’ve missed simple sewing projects.
- dark and dreary gray days that rob my energy and make photography impossible. Please help me find the blessing in them.
- the opportunity to serve children again… even if it’s more like babysitting which I DO NOT like.
- the season of gratitude that turns into the season of expectation and anticipation.
- my dear partners in prayer.
- my husband who has such a wonderful servant’s heart.
Now it’s YOUR turn!
Please join me by tapping in your ‘seven’ in the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts’ section below.
Thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave your sweet thoughts.
Receive FREE inspiration like this in your inbox!
Sign up Now