“Give us today our daily bread” – This is the section of the prayer that we’ve been focusing on this week. As I’ve been praying this portion this past week, I have to confess that I have done a little editing to the prayer. Well, maybe not so much editing as much as I’ve simply limited the prayer in a particular way. When I was saying “our,” I either meant “my” or at most “my family’s” daily bread. Did you find yourself doing something similar?
As we have said during this series, God wants you to pray about your needs. It is not wrong to do so. In other passages of scriptures, Jesus tells us to do so even more explicitly. However, in this prayer, He uses the term “our” so that we avoid the temptation to ONLY pray about our own needs.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-5 (NASB)
In my prayer time, it can become particularly easy to MERELY focus on my needs or my family’s needs. I should pray for those things, but I should also expand my prayer horizons to include others. But I need to do more than pray those words. I also need to consider how I might be an answer to the very words I’m praying. If in the midst of praying for “our” daily bread, I happen to notice that I have daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly bread (or the resources to procure it) but do not consider how I might be able to provide for someone who does not, can God really honor my words? Sure, God could provide what they need miraculously, but what if He prefers to use me?
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? James 2:14-16 (NASB)
I don’t want to be praying useless prayers. I’m sure you don’t want to either. So, what can we do?
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
I know we want to complicate it by asking where, when, and how but the truth is quite simple: Be rich in good deeds and generous and willing to share. Keep your eyes open. Be proactive. Be open-handed. Don’t talk about your food, your money, your stuff but remember it is all God’s, and He has placed it in your hands for your enjoyment and help meet others’ needs. If we do so, we may lose some earthly stuff, but we take hold of the life that is truly life. Now that is something worth praying for!