The Lord’s Prayer: Part 2
In last week’s blog post, you learned that I listened to Crawford Loritts give a series of sermons on the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 in which Jesus provides His disciples with an example about how to pray. I reviewed the first half of the prayer in my last post: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In this post, I had planned on wrapping up the entire remainder of the prayer, but today’s post is only about Matthew 6:11:
Give us this day our daily bread —
Crawford spoke to these seven words for an entire sermon within his series like I am now doing within my blog series. I remember taking notes with great concentration that morning when suddenly, Crawford said this:
We should not ask for any long-term provision.
My pen froze in mid-air. What???? We should not ask for any long-term provision?
My daughter came home and wrote the seven words on my office white board. She was struck by this concept too.
The next morning, I sat in my “quiet time” chair staring directly at my newly inscribed white board as I began to pray. In the shadow of these words, I closed my eyes and practiced something new. I only prayed for that day. I prayed for the bills to be paid that day. I thanked God for the meals He was providing that day. I thanked Him for the job I had that day. I prayed for my schedule in greater detail, asking God to intervene with His kingdom work in each situation. I have been practicing this for a few months now and I can say my “todays” are getting a lot more attention. When I move on to more important matters like peoples’ souls and circumstances in countries around the world, I pray for their todays as well.
I am a few months away from that particular morning. The words are still on my white board (I just took the picture.) I think Crawford may be right.
Everywhere I turn in Scripture, God tells us to live one day at a time. Yes, he tells us to think ahead and plan in a direction, but such thinking still insists on action TODAY in order to be successful. If we do not live each today well, our plans often fizzle. For example, when I pray that my children grow up to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength; I need to make sure I am raising them today in a way that points them to God and His ways. Their today better get prayed for! In every area, God asks us to live each day well. Look at these:
Therefore, so not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
Now, listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on a business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow…Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. (James 4: 13-16)
When God established a plan to provide for His people as they wandered in the wilderness, He provided manna one day at a time. Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, and when the sun grow hot, it melted away. (Exodus 16:21) On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much so they could rest on the seventh. Imagine what that was like. Each morning, they pulled back the tent flap and saw their provision for the day, then God asked them to go out and gather it. We are to pray for our provision for the day and then leave our prayer time to live the day and watch Him provide “our daily bread.”
What if today is not enough?
Though I have made some strides in this area, I still fight the urge to pray for future security. I have decided it’s partly because today is not enough. Too often, I want more than what today has for me. I am not content. This discontent tempts me to think about, strive and pray for tomorrow. It divides my mind and heart, making it impossible to be fully present today.
Philippians 4:13 is a verse I have seen applied to everything from quitting smoking, winning a ball game, and taking a test (maybe that wasn’t even studied for). Crawford taught me in another one of his messages that the context of this popular verse is contentment. Take a look.
…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4: 11-13)
In Christ, I can be content with every “today”…with the clothes I have today, the car I have today, the bills that arrive, where I live and where I work. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Deitrich Bonhoeffer said, Every morning is a new beginning of our life. Every day is a completed whole. It makes sense that if I live each day well, the faithful days will string together into months, years and decades of living well for God because I trusted Him for nothing more than one day at a time.
So let’s all pull back the tent flap each morning and go gather the provision He has provided for today.
After all, He has all of our tomorrows.
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