At first glance, this seems like such a simple prayer. “Lord, we need bread today.” When I was a new believer learning about trusting God to take care of me, I really believed He would provide… just barely. I could trust Him to provide me literally “bread and water”, and a tent to live in. The bare necessities. I lived in Ohio at the time and could imagine living in a tent in the winter, with frozen bread and ice cubes to live on. Can I say again, the BARE necessities!
Little by little, as I grew closer to God, I found out He is a loving Father, and He wanted to take good care of me. So, let’s delve a little deeper into what Jesus is teaching us about praying for our needs.
Give. Why would He tell us to ask His Father for bread if God couldn’t provide, or didn’t want to? God is All-Sufficient. He is – and has – enough. Enough for us, and everyone else too. And Jesus didn’t say “Beg” for bread. Begging for bread from God implies He doesn’t want to provide for us, or that he wants to see us grovel – to humiliate us. No! He wants to provide. He wants us to know we can rely on Him. He wants us to be His children! Sons and daughters of the King! Not beggars!
Jesus also did not say “Pay” us today our daily bread. When we do work for our employer, we receive a wage that is due us for our work. With that wage we buy bread and other necessities. We are not asking God to pay us according to our performance… according to what we deserve… according to the work we have done. We cannot earn His blessings or His provision. They are His gifts to us… so we respond with thanksgiving. We must always be more interested in the Giver than the gifts.
This day. God wants to provide today what we need today… even if we asked His help yesterday and the day before. Today! It doesn’t help us to get today’s bread tomorrow, or next week. God is never late! And He is never early either. His provision is always on time… not necessarily on OUR time, but always at the right time.
Daily Bread. Every day we have needs. And every day our Heavenly Father wants us to come to Him, with our needs, our wants, our hopes, our disappointments… our hearts. He wants to enjoy our fellowship every day. Not just when we need something. Not just when we have a problem. Not just on Sunday! Everyday. He loves spending time with us. He loves being our Provider.
Now let’s look at this from another viewpoint. Jesus said to pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” He also told satan, when He was being tempted, “Man does not live by bread alone.” (Matt 4:4) In another place He said “I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:35)
When Jesus told us to pray for our daily bread, he was talking more than “whole wheat” or “pumpernickel!” He is our daily bread! He wants our whole being to be healthy and well fed – not just our body. When we spend time in His Word and in talking to Him, our spirit and soul are nourished too. So, daily, we need to feed on His Word which we find in Scripture. Find a version that you understand! Ask Holy Spirit to sink His Truth deep into your inner being, to heal, to show you where you’ve believed lies… and replace those lies with His Truth, to cleanse your soul (mind and emotions). This is what is meant by “renewing your mind.” We must learn to think God’s thoughts! Sometimes you might read a chapter or two. Sometimes, one verse will jump off the page and you’ll meditate on that for days. Choose to feed your spirit, not just your body.
Another time He told His disciples, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me (His Father) and to finish his work.” (John 4:34) We are the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. He has assignments for each of us. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) tells us “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” We are told in John 3:16 that “…God so loved the whole world…” Does the world know this? Nope, they really don’t. God has reached out to us through someone. He has someone for us to reach with His love. I am surprised when I hear stories of people – in the United States – coming to Christ at 30 or 40 years of age, and no one had EVER told them that God loves them and sent Jesus! Ask Holy Spirit to lead you. You don’t need to walk around with a big ten pound bible preaching on the street corner. YOU are the only bible some people will ever read. Let God love people through what you do, and what you say. Ask for His guidance DAILY.
Are you uncomfortable asking God for your needs? Many people won’t pray for themselves, believing that it is self-centered to do so, and that they should only pray for others. So should we pray for ourselves… or others? Yes! Both!
What about needs that aren’t “daily bread” type of needs… like guidance, a new job, relationship issues, and so on? Shortly after Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He says “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10) The words translated “ask… seek… knock” here actually mean, “ask, and keep on asking… seek, and keep on seeking… knock, and keep on knocking.” God is our Heavenly Father, not a vending machine. Sometimes we get frustrated that we don’t see answers to our prayers right away. As we “ask, and keep on asking” sometimes our prayers change. Maybe we’ve been asking for the wrong thing. (Many times I’ve been glad God didn’t answer my prayer the way I originally prayed it!) Maybe our motives are not quite right. Maybe the timing isn’t quite right. Remember, we are praying for HIS kingdom to come. God answers all prayers – but sometimes the answers are “No” or “Not now.” If you are praying according to something He has promised, His answer is always “Yes!”
Again, right after teaching about asking, seeking and knocking, Jesus tells us “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Two things here: first, trust that your Heavenly Father loves you … He is Good … and He only has good gifts for you. He won’t give you something that will hurt you. Secondly, He is telling us to ask for the Holy Spirit! So, ask! This is something we can pray for over and over. As we grow in the Lord, and get rid of “junk”, we can “contain more” Holy Spirit. We don’t actually get more in quantity, but He gets more of us!
- Do you have trouble trusting God to take care of you? Just barely? Like a much-loved child?
- Do you have trouble understanding the bible? What version do you use?
- Do you feed your “inner man” as well as you feed your “outer man?”
- When is the last time you were able to tell someone that God really loves them?
- Who do you know that really needs to know about Jesus and what He has done for them?
- Have you ever prayed for something and you are glad God didn’t give it to you.
- Do you pray to be filled and re-filled with the Holy Spirit? Remember, sometimes we leak!
Father God, thank You for wanting to be more than “just my God,” but also wanting to be my Heavenly Father. No other religion has a god like You. Teach me, deep inside, what that means. Teach me that I can trust You… how to trust You in every area of my life. Teach me how to not only feed my body, but also how to feed my inner man (or inner woman.) Make me as hungry for more of You as I am for food. And Lord, guide me as I share Your Love with others. Lead me to those who desperately need You. Show me how to love with Your love. Give me the right words to say to share Your love… even if that means no words for a while. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for your guidance and help… today and every day.
And Lord, when I don’t see answers right away, I will trust that You are answering in the best way for me. You may be getting me ready first… You may be showing me that I need to adjust my prayer… You may be closing the wrong doors so the right door can open. I will trust You.
Holy Spirit, I need You, today, now, always!
In Jesus Precious Name,