I Need, Therefore I Pray, " ... my daily bread ..."

This week's devotional is from Pastor Art.

ENCOUNTER

The words, “Give us this day our daily bread.” have attracted the attention of all sorts of people –usually with good intent and execution:

“Religion is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions” (author unknown)

“"Give us this day our daily bread" is probably the most perfectly constructed and useful sentence ever set down in the English language.” (author P.J. Wingate)

“… here God promises to meet our needs, not our greeds.”  (Bible commentator William Barclay)

 

They’ve also been inspirational for wordsmiths who, in good fun, take them beyond their intended meaning:

“Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with. Give us pasta with a hundred fillings.” (Robert Farrar Capon)

 

And sadly, they’ve sometimes been hijacked, misinterpreted, or misused:

 … If [God] grants us our daily bread, it is only through our labor, our skill, and our preparation.” (Paracelsus)

“Their sword will become our plow, and from the tears of war the daily bread of future generations will grow” (Adolf Hitler – justifying the right of his followers to seize the land of others in order to feed themselves).

The meaning of the one who originally taught us to pray this way, however, is pretty clear.  If “Give us this day our daily bread” has a synonymous phrase – an axiomatic fraternal twin, it might be something like, “Remind me that I am dependent upon you, God, regardless of how well I’ve planned; how well I’ve stocked my cupboards; or how well-healed I’ve become financially.”

Put more simply, “Give us this day our daily bread” is another way of confessing something Jesus believed to be true of all people, whether they realized it or not: “I need, therefore I pray.”

BE REFLECTIVE

Consider the themes of dependence and divine provision from the perspective of the following Scriptures, asking yourself the following questions:

What do I actually believe about what’s being taught/implied in this text?

What measurable evidence is there in my life that might prove my answer to #1 above?

  • John 6:33-35

  • Exodus 16:1-21

  • Psalm 37:25

  • Psalm 23

  • Hebrews 13:5-6

  • Philippians 4:4-7

  • James 1:17

BE A BLESSING

In our staff meeting today Pastor Ben led us in a time of prayer for you. He asked us to read through the list of prayer requests you placed in the offering baskets last Sunday and ask God to reveal to us some way each of us might be part of an answer to your prayers. As you read this, I want to offer you an opportunity for a similar experience. Of all the people you know who might be praying, asking God to meet a need, is there one that stands out as a person whose need can be at least partially met by you? Whether you are giving from your abundance or your own poverty, to whom might you be God’s answer as he considers his options for answering their prayers.

BE TOGETHER

Brenda and I had the joy of gathering with our old “small group” after worship last Sunday. One of the families who had retired and moved to Hawaii was back for a visit and we all decided to have a little reunion (well, all but one of us, that is). One of the things this group used to do with some regularity was to find a local need we could fill as a group, then go together and fill it. Very few of the things we did together brought us as much joy and spiritual strength as those experiences.

Might there be others in your circle of friends (maybe even your own spouse, sibling, neighbor, or best friend) who would love to join you in being the “daily bread” for which someone is praying? Being a blessing can be an enriching encounter – but being a TEAM that blesses is sometimes the best engagement of all.