Mathew 6: 9-13
To repeat last week’s introduction, the Lord’s Prayer was not intended to be purely formulaic, to only be recited in private or public worship. The guidance we are offered in the Lord’s Prayer help us honor God, teach us how and what to pray for, and cultivate a prayerful disposition in and out of the prayer room. Last week when sharing the Lord’s Prayer: Part One, we looked at the guidance in this timeless prayer which focused on our worship and reverence for God. This week we will look at what we need in life.
Give us this day our daily bread: It is easy to get anxious and insecure about money and provision. There are seasons in life where we will have a lot to pray about when it comes to our financial security. This prayer offers a comfort and remedy in these trying times; job loss, underemployment, a failed business, medical expenses and health issues causing financial hardship, paying for and back educational costs and loans, financially devastating repercussions of a failed marriage; to mention a few. This petition, Give us this day our daily bread reveals that not only is it okay to pray for financial needs – it is encouraged!
The promise in the Lord’s Prayer is simple and straightforward: when we pray for our daily bread we are praying for our current necessities, no less and no more. Since this weekly writing reaches people in the U.S. and Canada, daily bread for us could easily be defined as adequate clothing and shelter, quality food products so we can try to stay healthy, educational resources that we might take advantage of better opportunities for ourselves and our family, a dependable car to be safe on our streets and highways, medical and life insurance protection, and a host of other needs required to live up to par in our culture today; recognizing in other regions of the world and other cultures it would require much less.
The promise from above is in the needs of life – not in the wants. You are welcome to disagree with me on this issue. I know there is a prosperity message today in some quarters of the church that is very compelling. And I want you to know I respect your beliefs. But this is the way I see it through my lens: industry, creativity and innovation can and has made many Christians wealthy or very well off, giving them much more than they need. There is nothing wrong with working hard and thinking smart so we can offer our Heavenly Provider something to bless, in a big way! Seeking a new career, new employment or a better position where we already work, taking the time and spending the money for more education, developing a skill or an apprenticeship, starting a new business, making a sound and intelligent investment which usually takes some risk if it amounts to much; all of these and more are ways to give God something to bless.
If we do receive more than we need, bountifully or marginally, we must keep our head on straight; be thankful and recognize our prosperity is a blessing from God and look for ways to bless others with our extra resources. Prosperity and wealth is likely not something to pray for, but something to thankfully receive. If we don’t receive more than we need, we should trust, accept, and receive only what God has planned for us to have without strained and disruptive expectations. We should try to be at peace with what we have, and where we are, at any given time in life. We will not be forsaken, God has promised daily bread.
Although I intended to cover more of the Lord’s Prayer this week, by necessity I will bring you the Lord’s Prayer: Part Three next week with the hope of finishing. Please know that the purpose of my weekly essays is to sharpen our faith and not to use the same utensil to divide us. I respect your faith and your walk with God!
Joseph C. Hutchison, Rochester Hills, Michigan, February 2019
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