Matthew 6:11, “Give us today our daily bread.”
The third exercise in “The Lord’s Prayer Workout” is to pray for one’s needs to be met in the context of God’s community. After a believer has started their prayer by praising the name of God and seeking His kingdom and will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, the door opens to pray for needs to be met.
When Jesus said “give us” today our daily bread, He purposefully said “us” (plural) and not “me” (singular). The words “us” and “our” are used in contrast to “me” and “my.” The words “me” and “my” are used to signify one’s personal needs, whereas, “us” and “our” represent the needs of the community. Jesus was teaching His disciples that when they pray, they should pray for everyone’s needs to be met, not just their own.
God said to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3, He would bless him to be a blessing and that all nations would be blessed through him. Jesus, a natural descendant of Abraham, came to bring about God’s promise to bless the entire earth through Abraham. In Acts 4:33-35, Luke recorded that the early church began to fulfill this promise to Abraham by being charitable in their community; “33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”
Like in the early church, we should pray for our needs to be met in the context of community because this is the reason why God blesses His people in such abundance. Likewise, after we pray for God’s communal blessings, we should be diligent to look for them in our lives so that we can give them to others, lest we become hoarders of God’s blessings.
The difference between a pond and a river is the flow of water. The pond is stagnant, yet the river is constantly moving fresh water through its channels. God called His people to be like a river, generously flowing His blessings to the world around us; not like a pond, where we keep everything for ourselves.
It is good to remember, that we are not only to give when we have abundance but we should also give in times that require sacrifice. Jeremy Taylor wrote, “He, who gives what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.” For many, God is testing your faith to see if you give what little you have to help others, so He can entrust you with more.
In your prayer times, you should always be confident that God cares for your every need. However, you should never look to your needs alone, but also to other’s needs. Be mindful to see all the gifts and blessings that God gives “to you” are to go “through you” to the community in need “around you!”
Do you pray daily just for your needs to be met or for the needs of your community?
- Examine your heart and repent of any selfishness in the form of stinginess or greed.
- Pray everyday for other’s needs to be met along with your own.
- As God meets your daily needs, be ready to share with others; this is how God answers the prayers of people in need. God doesn’t usually send angels to meet our needs. He primarily sends people to help other people (Philippians 4:10-20)!