ASK GOD FOR OUR NEEDS
“Daily needs and desires point beyond themselves, to God’s promise of the kingdom in which death and sorrow will be no more. But that means, too, that the promise of the kingdom includes those needs, and doesn’t look down on them sneeringly as somehow second-rate.” ~N.T. Wright, The Lord and His Prayer.
This petition marks a shift in the Lord’s Prayer. The first few petitions are directed at God and center on his glory, kingdom, and will becoming a greater reality in this world and in our lives. The next few petitions, beginning with this request for daily bread, are petitions to God on behalf of ourselves and others.
The petition for daily bread is a petition for daily provision. It is a recognition that God is trustworthy and reliable to supply what we need to live each and every day. It is a reminder that we do not need to worry about how we will survive a year from now. We can trust God with our future and rest in his daily provision.
This petition would have resonated with Jesus’ initial audience more than it likely does to many of us today. In their world, kitchens didn’t have refrigerators, freezers, and pantries, where food could be stored for long periods of time. In addition to this, most laborers in Jesus’ day were paid very poorly, and they were paid each day for the work they performed that day. So, the pay they received each day was used to purchase the food that they needed for that day. This petition was more than a theological principle to apply; it was a reality they faced each and every day.
Even though we may not struggle with daily provision in the same ways they did, we should not skip over these words. In our culture of prosperity, we can quickly forget that it is God who ultimately provides what we have, as well as what we need. As we are often reminded throughout the Scriptures, it is God who provides the rain and the sunshine, which enables crops to grow; it is God who has given us able bodies and creative minds, with which we are able to provide for our needs. Whether you have more money in a savings account than you know what to do with, or you live paycheck to paycheck, or disability check to disability check—it is God who supplies your needs.
This petition should cause us to be grateful when we have plenty and be confident when we lack, because, as children of God, we have a Father who knows our needs and is able to provide. He is good and he is trustworthy. He cares about our biggest needs, and he cares about our basic needs, so we can confidently ask him to meet all our needs. Whatever situation you find yourself in, know that your Father longs to provide for you, and he is able to do so.
READ LUKE 11:1-13 FOCUSING ON VERSE 3
As God’s children, we should bring all of our needs (physical, emotional, spiritual) before God because he loves us. As Paul Miller says, asking God to fulfill our mundane needs will often lead us to seek His help more for our soul needs. Take ten minutes to slow down and think about your desires, fears, anxieties, and dreams. Write them down and ask God for wisdom and direction in these areas of your life. Practice “asking boldly and surrendering completely.” Expect God to answer your prayers. Some of you may experience answered prayer quickly. If so, share this with your group.
As you think about what it looks like to pray for your needs, there are a couple of practical ways to help you do that. One is to keep a prayer log. This tool helps you keep track of what you are asking God for, and it allows you to easily see when and how he has met your needs.
Another idea comes from chapter 27 of Paul Miller’s, A Praying Life. He suggests using prayer cards to help you keep track of how to pray for people, but this could just as easily be used to pray for ongoing areas of personal need.
He offers the following guidelines to help create prayer cards:
PRAY OVER YOUR OIKOS DOCUMENT
PRAY OVER THE 5 REQUESTS ON THE FASTING AND PRAYER GUIDE
PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER IN YOUR COMMUNITY GROUP