Summary: Becoming a Person of Prayer, part 6 Praying for Provision “Give us this day our daily bread”
Becoming a Person of Prayer, part 6
Praying for Provision
“Give us this day our daily bread”
December 12, 2010
We are looking at a tool and a strategy to be more effective in our prayer lives. The disciples asked, teach us to pray because they saw something about his life that flowed from his relationship with his Father and they wanted it. Jesus gives them this prayer covering areas he believed that were important for his followers to cover as regular part of our prayer lives. Let’s review real quickly. We started with Getting Started, talking about God as our Father; then we talked about Getting Focus, hallowed be your name, reviewing the names of God and talking about the proper attitude in which to come to God, which is praise and thanksgiving. Then we spent two weeks on Divine Intervention. We talked about the present and future nature of the Kingdom and prayer as a means of bringing the presence of the future powers of the age to come to bear on daily life. Today I want to talk to you about Praying for Provision, getting our needs met.
When Karen and I began thinking of starting family, the issue that made me most hesitant was the responsibility to provide for my children. I think that is an issue for most men because we feel the weight of the burden to provide for our children’s needs. God our Father feels that same burden and promises to provide for his children. Jesus tells us to pray, give us this day our daily bread because God our Father is concerned about and able to meet our daily needs. A couple of weeks ago we saw that one of the names of God is provider and shepherd. It is in the very nature and character of God the Father to provide for his children. This was an important lesson for Israel. When God led Israel in the desert for forty years he provided manna for them every day. To show Israel that he provides, God told them to gather only what they needed for the day. The only time he told them to gather more was on Friday so they did not have to gather on the Sabbath. There was never a shortage of manna for forty years. When they did try to gather extra manna it rotted because God provides for their daily needs. Manna was given to teach Israel to trust God daily for their needs and learn that trusting God for provision is a daily experience. This same theme runs through the New Testament. In Matthew six Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about what they will eat or drink or wear because their Father knows their needs and will provide so they can freely pursue the Kingdom (6:33). Then in chapter seven Jesus he tells them that if evil fathers know how to give good gifts to their children how much more will their Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him (Mat 7:9-11). Then Paul tells the Philippians that God is generous toward those who are generous toward God (Phil 4:18-19). It is in the very nature of God and his covenant with us to meet our needs. We need a savior, He provides one; we need the forgiveness of sin and he provides it; we need power to overcome sin, He provides it; we need spiritual understanding to grasp word, he provides it; etc. He promises to provide for all of our needs.
But his provision in not without qualifications; there are principles for provision. There is a sense that God provides for everyone. There is grace that is common to all. Everyone experiences God’s grace in his providential care in creation, in the restraint of sin, and the many blessings God gives to all through science, technology, medicine, etc. For instance, the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous and the sun provides resources to live that all humanity benefits from. All humanity experiences the blessing of medicine and technology and food. But God only promises to provide for his children, those who are in a right relationship with him. He promises only to provide for those who have this father-child relationship with him provided through the gospel. God promises to provide only for those who are in a right relationship with him. The next principle is that God promises to provide for those who have their priorities right. He promises to provide for those who put his Kingdom first (Mat 6:33). God often withholds provision if our priorities are not right. One of the primary areas of priorities that God seems to qualify his provision is in the area of our finances. Faithfulness and obedience in giving are intimately tied together in the bible to our experience of God’s provision in our lives (i.e. James 4:2-3; Hag 1:6-11).