Lord, thank you for including “daily bread” in your prayer, the prayer you taught us. I need to pray about daily needs and obligations. It is the temporal, the nagging, the worrisome, and the persistency of these daily challenges that, at times, and more times than I care to admit, plague me.
Daily bread means different things to different people in different places in the world. It is one thing in Darfur to ask for daily bread and quite another in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. The middle class family experiences the “essential comforts” of life harder to come by. The troubles and worries of the wealthy are real, yet so distant from the fears and struggles at the poverty line, or worse, in the struggle to survive another day.
Lord, I need to talk with you about my daily bread – bluntly, my daily bills. The “bread” I face is what I need and what I owe. It’s money. You know, Lord, whenever money is on the table, people change, I change. In a simple word – help me change for the better, to be true to my best in you.
Yet, to write this prayer is a fearful thing… what does it mean? That is, what does it mean for me; what will you require of me? How do I need to change? Do I need to spend less? Or spend different? Where should I put my energy and time? “Daily Bread” is an issue of priorities. What really counts? What matters? Should I do something different? “Daily bread” is also an issue of purpose.
Lord, I can change the way I spend and, to some degree, the way I earn. But, the deeper change is more challenging. Daily bread becomes an obsession. It becomes something to fret over. It quickly is all consuming. This is an issue of presence; its presence in my thoughts and fears can be cancerous. The worries of daily bread start to eat me alive.
Jesus taught us to pray for the daily bills, obligations, and needs. What an extraordinary invitation. Your invitation to prayer for “daily bread” shows me that you, Lord, are interested and concerned. Your eternal grace includes the need for daily bread.
When I pray the prayer you taught us to pray, I am obliged to begin with “Our Father…” Eventually I arrive at the petition for my “daily bread.” The journey of prayer from the Holy Name to the daily need is laid out for us, “…thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Here my priorities find order – “thy kingdom.” I find purpose – “thy will.” And, with alignment of priorities and purpose, your presence is here – “on earth as it is in heaven.”
How to pray about money matters:
First, examine your relationship with God, “Our Father which art in heaven, hollowed is your name…”
Lord, I am your child and you are my Father; we love one another. In the face of uncertain times, may my certainty rest on the eternal fact that I belong to you and nothing is more important in life.
Second, align your priorities with His kingdom, “…thy kingdom come…”
Lord, give me vision for the priorities of your Kingdom. Set me free from the blindness of eyes that only see water in a well or bread on a table; let me see the bread and water of life. In this difficult economic time, let me, more than ever, live as a citizen of the Kingdom of Christ.
Third, aim your purpose at following His will, “…thy will be done…”
Lord, give me direction, your will, in this situation. I know your will is found in the truth of Scripture. You will is found in good wisdom and the counsel of good people. Your will come with an inner nudge in the soul. Help me remember and accept that your will is not an escape or an excuse, but a path that reflects living true to my best in Christ.
Fourth, look for His presence in your daily life, “…on earth as it is in heaven…”
Lord, reveal yourself to me in the little things, the ordinary, and the difficult. I need the power of heaven in the practical issues I face. I think that often the fear, worry, and anxiety I carry causes me to miss your presence and your work in my life. Give me heaven’s courage on this dark night on earth.
Fifth, ask for daily needs, “…give us this day our daily bread…”
Lord, you know my need before I ask. Yet, in the asking you begin to answer. In your love, your vision, your wisdom, and your courage, I present to you today’s need. Here are the bills, the creditors, the broken appliance, the fender-bender, the school clothes for the children, and the tuna casserole (again) on the table. I ask for your strong hands. With one will you take the daily need and with the other will you take me. I trust you and I am committed to any and every thing you ask. Amen
Copyright 2011 © Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.