“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread" (Matthew 6:9-11).
As we read this prayer our Lord gave, remember it is the model prayer. The Lord did not say "Pray this prayer," but "Pray in this manner." He taught us something wonderful about prayer: it's not the length of our prayer, the logic of our prayer, or the language of our prayer, but the faith, the focus, and the force of our prayer that causes it to be heard in heaven.
"Bread" in this prayer is really symbolic of any need you have. Do you have a need today? God delights to meet your need.
Here are four important steps to follow when praying for "daily bread."
A Proper Priority
Notice the priority in this prayer:
First comes God's name, His kingdom, and His will. Only after that comes our need, "Give us this day our daily bread." If you don't get that priority straight, you'll never have power in prayer.
God is not a heavenly bellhop, running around to meet your needs. Prayer is not the way man gets his will done in heaven. Prayer is the way God gets His will done on earth. It's important we understand this. Jesus Christ summed it up in Matthew 6:33: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
If you don't establish that priority, you're not going to get your prayers answered.
Answered prayer is not for rebels. Why should God answer your request for daily bread if you're not going to use that strength to serve Him? You must pray "Thy will" before you pray "our bread." Give Him first place. The one place God will not work is second place.
Is the burning, consuming desire of your heart that His name be glorified, His kingdom come, and His will be done? Matthew 6:33 will remain only an unreached promise if you've not put it to practice.
Your Prayerful Petition
Another reason some people don't have their needs met: they don't ask. It's that simple.
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11).
You simply say, "Lord I have a need." Many people have not because they ask not (James 4:2). You deny yourself when you don't pray. Prayer is the key that unlocks heaven's treasury.
God answers prayer. The One Who created the universe, the great eternal God, says that I can call upon Him and He will answer me and show me great and mighty things (Jeremiah 33:3).
A Proper Perspective
This doesn't mean you have the key to Fort Knox or you're going to get everything you want. It doesn't say God's going to meet our greed. God is going to meet our need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19) "Give us…our daily bread," may be also translated "give us this day bread sufficient for us." Our Lord taught us to pray for bread, not for cake. Sometimes we want things we don't need. And sometimes we need things we don't want. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and God will delight to meet your need.
Your Personal Part
Prayer is not a substitute for work or diligence. If you pray for bread, do you know how to say Amen? Work for it.
"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground" (Genesis 3:19).
"...'The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
"Slugards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing" (Proverbs 20:4).
"Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty" (Proverbs 28:19).
Too lazy to plow? Then you won't have anything to eat. God doesn't bless laziness or indolence.
Don't sit back and say, "I'm going to show my faith by doing nothing." To the contrary! You will show your faith by doing something, for faith without works is dead.
Jesus is heaven's bread for earth's hunger. He became the Bread of Life so you and I could have our deepest hunger met.
Do you know Jesus? Friend, if you had bread to spare and died and went to hell, so what? If you don't have Jesus, there's a hidden hunger never satisfied until it's satisfied in the Lord Jesus Christ. "Man shall not live by bread alone" (Matthew 4:4). When you go to bed tonight, have that Bread in your heart. His name is Jesus. He'll be sufficient for tomorrow.
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