Summary: Discover how Jesus intended prayer to care for the believer.
This morning we continue with our new series on the topic of prayer. We already looked at the first half of the model prayer Jesus taught to His disciples, calling us to get to know God. And we saw that we can best get to know God through approaching God as our Heaven Father, adoring God above all else, accepting God’s way of life and applying God’s will to our life.
Steve Brown noted, “Nonbelievers don’t pray, because they’re afraid God is really there. Believers don’t pray, because they’re afraid that God may not be there. And we don’t want to risk finding out. Jesus taught His disciples to risk, to find that not only is God really there, but that He is your Heavenly Father.
Most people don’t go to God except as a last resort. They don’t know God as their Heavenly Father, who can be trusted, who is concerned about us and who is capable of meeting our needs. If you knew the real God, going to Him in prayer would be as natural as a hungry man going to the refrigerator.
Our text for the message comes from Matthew 6:11-13, but it will be good to read from verse 9, the beginning of the model prayer Jesus taught to His disciples.
If Jesus were to elaborate on the second half of this model prayer, he might tell us, “You can’t understand the second half, if you don’t understand the first half. And you won’t apply the second half, if you don’t apply the first half.” He would want us to know that we can only get what we need from God, because God is our Heavenly Father, and He wants to give to us what is good.
Matthew 7:9-11 reminds us, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!”
Jesus assures us that God is the giver of good gifts. Not only that, Jesus tells us what God wants to give to us if we would only ask. Let’s look together.
First, Jesus instructs us to seek God’s provision for our present. “Give us today our daily bread (verse 11).”
We all have needs. We are not self-sustaining. God made us to need oxygen, water, food, love, security, and relationship with others and with God. To have needs is neither weak nor wrong. And to bring our needs to God is very appropriate and wise.
After all, God is our Heavenly Father, and He loves to provide what we need. He is not a loan shark. He is not going to make fun of us. He loves us. And giving us what we need is an opportunity for Him to show His love.
Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 6:25-26, “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? 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?”
The answer is, “Certainly!”
God wants us to live without worry for our daily needs. Jesus continues in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This summarizes the model prayer: Seek God first; then receive from God what we need.
When I worked as a campus minister, I found that many who made bad relational choices had worried about being alone the rest of their lives. They took matters into their own hands without regard for God’s ways. I found, on the other hand, that people who trusted God to provide their future spouse either ended up single and satisfied or married and satisfied, because they kept godly standards and followed God’s Word in regards to relationships.
If you have need for wisdom, ask God to meet that need. Then live what you know from God’s Word. If you have need for courage, ask God to meet that need. Then live what you know from God’s Word. If you have need for health, ask God to meet that need. Then live what you know from God’s Word.
By seeking God’s provision while living what we know from the Bible, we create a channel for God to give and for us to receive. Seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness is another word for obeying what we know from God’s Word. When we ask and obey, we do not ruin our lives by worrying and taking matters into our own hands without regard for God’s ways. To take care of self, seek God’s provision for the present.