My mother taught me to pray the Lord’s Prayer and at the time she was not a church goer. I am pretty sure she didn’t really understand the prayer. It seems there was a time in Australia when prayer was something important enough to teach your children and the Lord’s Prayer was a good place to start. That is hardly surprising when you realises Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray and the Lord’s Prayer was his answer. It is an extraordinary prayer. It allows intimacy with God. Its simplicity masks its fullness and it is so succinct but offers opportunity for a diversity of prayer requests which includes the provision of our daily bread.
It is a wonderful thing to realise that despite how humanity might treat God, in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to ask God to “give us today our daily bread” and Jesus expectation is that God will do it. The priority of the Lord’s Prayer is the hallowing of God’s name and the program of the Lord’s Prayer is for God’s Kingdom to come and will be done. In my experience neither of those things are possible without the provision of our daily bread.
This is a sensible prayer request that doesn’t pander to our personal kingdoms of greed. However you would not know that by the way people pray it and the context they ignore.
This weeks sermon will be brought to you by the letter “S”. I don’t want to give the whole sermon away so let me just offer comment about the Substance of this prayer request to whet the appetite.
I have no doubt that the prayer gives us opportunity to pray for everything necessary for the preservation of life including: food, clothing and a roof over our head, good government, successful harvests, patience in adversity, forgiveness of our sins, protection against evil and even the bread of hope in the face of death. BUT… I know that’s not the way you start a sentence… BUT to make this request you must not miss the context. It seems most likely that in the context, the daily bread I ask for is the bread that will best enable me to hallow God’s name and see His Kingdom come and will being done. Its not a prayer in the first instance for our greeds but our needs for Kingdom purpose.
Before a person prays this prayer it would be a helpful to ask the question, “what do I most need to be able to hallow God’s name and to advance His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven?”
One little prayer I pray is, “From the love of my comfort, from the fear of having nothing and from worldly passions, good Lord deliver me.” There is so much potential to not hallow God’s name in these things so I pray for this daily bread of deliverance regularly. I could add so many more requests – for a generous heart and the boldness to introduce people to the Jesus who teaches this prayer are just two.
Mindful that our request for our daily bread should be motived by the hallowing of God’s name, His Kingdom and His will, what might we pray for and what might we stop praying for?
May God provide us with the daily bread of knowing what to pray for in order to hallow his name and see His Kingdom come. Getting our prayers right will prove to be our blessing.