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Summary: Give us today our daily bread. Six words which when unpacked present a world of challenges.

Sermon for CATM – March 13, 2011 – The Lord’s Prayer: Give Us Today Our Daily Bread

Here is another version of the Lord’s prayer in paraphrase from the Message by Eugene Peterson. Let’s read it together:

Our Father in heaven,

Reveal who you are.

Set the world right;

Do what’s best— as above, so below.

Keep us alive with three square meals.

Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.

You’re in charge!

You can do anything you want!

You’re ablaze in beauty!

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Sometimes it helps to look at passages of Scripture that are very familiar to us from a slightly different angle.

Let me ask you this: If I were to ask you what you need to live, what would you say? [Necessities, essentials for living] [Shelter, food, clothing (in Canada for sure), housing; ][community? Love? Belonging?]

Shelter, food, clothing, housing.

These things are what we can’t get along without, they are essential actually to being human.

Love, belonging, community. These things are perhaps not what are most critical if we were to create a hierarchy of needs, but we understand that without these things, we might be alive, but we will not live very well.

We’re into our third look at the Lord’s Prayer in our current series on prayer. We’re teaching on prayer because there is perhaps nothing so vital in life for our spiritual well-being than prayer.

We’ve actually taught a lot of prayer over the years, especially in the course we run annually called “Prayer as a Way of Life” which many of you have been part of.

We’ve seen so far as we’ve looked at the Lord’s Prayer that prayer begins with praise. It begins with worshipping God as He is revealed in Scripture: Our Father in Heaven, whose very Name is hallowed.

The Greek for ‘hallowed’ is not a noun, not a static thing or an abstract idea. It is a verb, ἁγιάζω (hagiazō). When we worship God, when we live our lives in a way that is loving and pleasing to Him, we are hallowing His name. As we gather here and sing praises and worship we are hallowing His name. We need to cherish Him and love Him and honour Him for who He is!

Before we come to God with our wants and our wishes, we need to come to Him with our worship!

All the elements of true prayer are found in this prayer that Jesus gave us to model our prayers on, what we call the Lord’s Prayer. So…what is prayer? How do we pray? Why do we pray? Is it ok to pray for ourselves?

What should our focus be when we pray [Kingdom]? How does my private, personal prayer relate to your private, personal prayer? All good questions that we will hopefully unpack as we continue through this series.

Today we’re looking at Matthew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread. That’s 6 little words that might not seem like they amount to much, or might seem very plain, but they actually challenge us in some pretty powerful ways, if we let them.

And as brief as this verse is, we can look at it up close

Give us…

I want to be independent. I want to be self-made man. I want to provide for my family. The human ego, the male ego wants independence and self-sufficiency.

Jesus, here in the Lord’s prayer, reminds us of our total dependence on God. We come to God with our hands out. Our posture is not to be one of bold self-reliance.

It is that of a child who at a gut level knows both that he exists under the loving care of his or her parent, and that he NEEDS his parent for the necessities of life.

We come to God with hands out, not unlike a beggar might who relies on the benevolence of goodwill of those who pass by. But you know, a child who is cared for rarely if ever thinks much at all about the fact that they are being cared for.

My children Jared and Elia, when they were young, never wondered if they would eat; they wouldn’t think to themselves, “Dad is cooking dinner…I wonder if he’ll feed me”.

So while we’re called to ask God in prayer for our daily bread, the bread of our necessity, the bread that suffices for each day, we’re called to do so with deep trust in who God is, not while anxiously wondering if we’ll eat.

Just a little later in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus says: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

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