praying FOR GOD'S PROVISION (Matthew 6:11)

June 20th, 2024

Give us today our daily bread.

So far in our journey through the Lord's prayer we have considered what it means to pray to our heavenly father and also pray in tune with His will for our lives. Hopefully you are beginning to see the running theme that Jesus is trying to convey. That is, although we ourselves are offering a prayer to God, prayer in of itself is not simply about us. The Lord is teaching us to focus our desires, our wants and our needs completely on Him. In this sense prayer allows us to empty ourselves of our own pride and trains us to cast our burdens upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7).

The next phase of the Lord's prayer has to do with us asking God for daily provision. It is helpful to firstly note that Jesus is teaching us to ask God to provide for our needs on that day. This is not to say that we can't pray for tomorrow or about our futures. It may simply mean that we shouldn't begin to bring a grocery list of things we want and need for the next ten years. He is implying that God's choice of provision will be sufficient enough for today and we don't need to panic about tomorrow. Later in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus would explain this very same concept. He taught us not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself (Matthew 6:34). We shouldn't be spiralling in anxious thoughts about the future in the middle of our prayers. If we're not careful we may be stirring up our own doubt and discouragements. To truly pray and seek the Father is to come to Him in faith and belief. Without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one coming to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

We should be careful not to get carried away with praying for everything to workout perfectly for the next week, or month, or even year. None of those things are promised or guaranteed. The Bible instead teaches us to pray humble prayers about our future. Rather than boasting in what might come, we simply say "if the Lord is willing, then it shall be" (James 4:15). Focusing on today calms our own heart and teaches us that none of our days are controlled by us. Our father in heaven is the very one who is shaping and guiding our life and He does so day by day.

The idea of "bread" is also introduced to us in this verse. Jesus is using a metaphor here to describe our physical needs in this life. God is the creator and sustainer of our physical lives and therefore He knows exactly what we need each day. We are encouraged here to pray and ask God for what we need. Nowhere in the Bible are we discouraged from asking God for this provision. We can ask, we can seek and we can knock at his door for there is a heavenly Father who listen and cares (Matthew 7:7-11). Whenever I read this portion, I am reminded of all the times God had provided for the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. These are the many stories of God's supernatural deliverance in their time of trouble and need. That same God has become our Father and He will do the same for us. 

There will be many times in life where we will struggle with various circumstances affecting our physical well-being. Perhaps we are concerned if the next the paycheque will be enough to sustain our family for the rest of the month and pay the bills. Maybe our health has taken a turn for the worst and we are unsure what the future holds. Whatever the case may be, we must be assured that we serve the God of today. He is not lost in the sorrows of yesterday nor is He shaken about the plans of tomorrow. He is the great provider of our today and He shall supply for all our needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). 

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