“I had a million questions to ask God; but when I met Him, they all fled my mind; and it didn’t seem to matter.” –Christopher Morley
“Prayer is–an expression of mankind’s unity and relationship of love with God; an expression of mankind’s affirmation of and participation in God’s purposes for the earth.” –Dr. Myles Monroe
Just to let you know the thoughts today are not all my own. I have often pondered the Lord’s Prayer, and I have heard numerous sermons on it, and read books and commentaries about it. Many of the ideas and illustrations are from “A Slice of Infinity: Praying for Bread” written by Jill Carattini.
One thing that has appalled me over the years is the “blab it and grab it” phenomenon. Some of it is close to the truth, but much of it is completely bizarre. Too often we want to interpret scripture to follow our own ideas rather than the context in which the Holy Spirit had it written. We take things out of context or we don’t even bother to look at the context.
Look at the words of Jesus, “Give us each day our daily bread.” Disciples of a rabbi “would learn to pray as their teacher prayed, and from then on, when a disciple’s prayer was heard, it would sound like that of his teacher’s prayers, bearing his own mark and posture before God.” (Carattini) So when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are saying that we are His disciple and that we are praying with the voice of Jesus.
This is not the time to go into the concept of what is prayer. True prayer, however, is not about self, but about the Lord. How many times have you prayed and nothing happened? When that does happen we either give a cliché, or we say that God doesn’t really answer our prayers. James gives a little insight when he says that we often pray amiss. I can remember at times, once or twice, when I was playing ball and I prayed for the Lord to help me get a hit. I cannot remember if it ever happened, but it really was a silly prayer. The pitcher was probably praying, don’t let him get a hit.
Carattini brings out the fact that the prayer of our daily bread is foundational to life. It is a literal need to survive. We don’t pray for filet mignon and caviar but for the sustenance of life. This is a prayer for God’s care and His provision. Carattini, in her article, gives the words of Martin Luther, “[prayer for daily bread is the plea for] everything included in the necessities and nourishment for our bodies such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.” It is not just something we eat, but it is far more than that. It is prayer for things that are needed.
Prayer is not a lackadaisical piece of rhetoric. It should come from the soul of man, from his very being. Carattini writes in closing. “In difficult days, in plentiful days, the invitation of Christian prayer is the invitation of the Spirit to join a cry united to Christ’s–‘Give us this day our daily bread’–which is placed in the hands of one who called himself the bread of life and carried to the Father who prepares a table for the life to the world.”
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.” –Matthew 6:10-11 (NKJV)