Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Our daily bread, part 2

We're in the middle of a teaching series on the "Lord's Prayer" at our midweek prayer meeting. I've found it fascinating to be meditating upon the petition "give us this day our daily bread". The below is scratching the surface, but it's teaching that even after many years even mature Christians especially those from the West need regular reminding of; I know I do.
  • It's a corporate prayer - not just me praying for my needs. We pray as part of the church, that God will take care of his people.
  • The prayer reflects the fact that life repeats itself. God made us to experience years, months, weeks and days, full of routine and repetition. We should not grow weary in bringing the same prayers to God again and again.
  • It also reflects the fact that prayer is to be continual - each day brings challenges, each day requires prayer for help.
  • The assumption behind the petition is that it is not kings, parliaments or bankers who ultimately control the wheels of provision: it's God. Would that the world would remember that during its present economic crisis instead of continuing to put its trust in man and clever systems. We go out and work - but God sends or withholds blessing. One day you may wake up to find your business has collapsed, or you've been fired. We use the ordinary means, but God blesses or over-rules them as he pleases.
  • We pray for today's bread, today. If we've been provided for more largely than that we can be thankful - but must not "trust in uncertain riches" or become arrogant. Those are spiritual dangers that anyone rich enough to afford the technology to read a blog is exposed to! Most of my hearers at the Bible study are in the other category - they must not despair as if God had abandoned them because they get up each day not knowing whether God will provide today or not: rather, the prayer presupposes that this is a normal situation.
  • We pray for daily bread, not daily steak. Again, if we've been blessed with more we must be careful to give more thanks and praise or we've committed the sin of being ungrateful. But if we have just bread, we must still give thanks, because God has answered our prayer if we have but bread on our table. Blog-readers must be careful not to fall into the terrible sin of praying to God for daily bread and then complaining instead of giving thanks at what is provided if it doesn't meet their exact tastes!

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