Sunday, February 10, 2008

Do We Know How To Pray?- Part 7

In my last blog we talked about the phrase in the Lord's Prayer "Give us this day..." I talked about the importance of focusing on the day at hand, and letting any future days not cause us to worry; we are to give the future to the Lord, since we never know what future we may have.
Today I want to look at the end of this phrase "Give us this day OUR DAILY BREAD." First we looked at the word "daily," now we will look at the word "bread."

This word "bread" might appear to mean food, since we eat bread as a food substance. But did Jesus mean it to be used as a symbol for something greater, something significantly larger, something much more eternal? I believe so. So, let’s look at 3 items that will help bring this into better perspective.

1. Dependency- First, what matters most in our lives, in the eternal

perspective, is our dependency on God. One of the dangers of living in the society we live in, is that we can believe that we can make it on our own; that we are self-sufficient; that our future is in our hands; that we make our own destiny; that we are the providers of our own sustenance. But in doing this we forget about God.

The Israelites had this same struggle. They would turn away from God, their

LORD and creator, and forget how God had rescued them out of slavery from Egypt. Time and time again we read in the Bible how the Israelites had to remember the days of old and how God provided for them. When they did this, it caused them to again let themselves become dependent on God.

In teaching us to pray this simple petition, “Give us this day our daily bread,” Jesus is telling us to remember that God created us not for independence, but for dependence upon Him. Our future is not in our hands, but in God’s.

2. The basics- Secondly, when we pray for daily bread, it is referring to our

basic needs. In a time when society gets so focused on the exotic and the extravagant, usually at the expense of the impoverished, I think Jesus wants us not to forget the basics of life, and that God is there to provide for us in the most basic of needs.

God can use us to provide the basics. When we give to help those who are poor and in need, we trust God to use this giving as a means to help provide them the basics of life. In doing this, we are not hoarding our money, but sharing it with others, and we are answering this prayer for another human being.

3. Spiritual Sustenance- Thirdly, we have the basic need of spiritual

sustenance. We are more than just a body, we are a body and a spirit, and our spirit needs to connect with the Spirit of God. This is a need, and yet too many people turn a blind eye to this need; too many people think they don’t need to have a relationship with God. Just as when we eat physical food our body gets hungry again, so we are continually hungry for the spiritual food of worship, prayer, and God’s word.

EX. A number of years ago a man wrote into the newspaper, which started an important dialogue. He wrote that he didn’t think that sermons were important because he didn’t remember any of the sermons he ever heard. The debate went back and forth between those who thought sermons were important, and those who didn’t. Finally, the dialogue ended when one man wrote: “My wife has been cooking me meals for 20 years. I can’t remember most of the meals she has cooked for me, but I do know that eating them has kept my body healthy!”

There is a poem that says:

You cannot pray the Lord’s Prayer in the first person ‘I.’
You cannot say the Lords Prayer and even once say ‘My.’
Nor can you pray the Lord’s Prayer and not pray for another;
for as you ask for ‘daily bread,’ you must include your brother.
Yes, others are included in each and every plea;
from the beginning to the end of it, it doesn't once say 'Me.'