A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God
Special Study: SUPPLICATION AND PRAYER FOR DAILY SUSTENANCE
The Lord’s Prayer is marvellously brief and wonderfully full. It is a model prayer for the family of God; it is a pattern of prayer for all disciples of Christ. Babes in Christ, matured men in Christ, ministers of Christ can learn a lot in this prayer. It is the Lord’s Prayer, the Disciple’s Prayer, the Family Prayer. It is simple and basic for the child of God; it is high and sublime for every servant of God.
We have already noted the order of the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. The first three petitions have to do with God and with the glory of God. The second three petitions have to do with the needs and necessities of God’s family. God is given the first and supreme place - His right place. It is only when God is given His proper place that all other things fall into their proper places.
The second part of the prayer, the part which deals with our needs and our necessities shows Christ’s care and compassion for us. It deals with the three essential needs of man, and the three spheres of time within which man moves. First, we ask for bread, which is necessary for the maintenance of life. That brings the needs of the present to the throne of God. Second, the petition asks for forgiveness, thereby bringing the past before the throne of grace. Third, we ask for prevention, protection, preservation in times of temptation, committing our future into the Hands of God.
DEPENDENCE ON GOD FOR DAILY BREAD
Matthew 6:11; Psalms 123:2; 103:13; 68:5; Exodus 16:4,14-21; 2 Corinthians 8:15; Exodus 16:22-28; Isaiah 58:13,14; Psalm 104:27,28; Matthew 6:26; 1 Kings 17:2-6; Deuteronomy 8:3,16,18.
God the Father is the Creator, the Giver and the Sustainer of all life. When we ask for bread to sustain our earthly lives, we show our dependence on our God, Creator and Father. “Give us this day our daily bread.” When we pray to the heavenly Father to give us bread, we confess and acknowledge our entire dependence on Him. We trust God and depend on Him for the supply of our daily necessities. As Israel required daily manna in the wilderness, so we require daily bread in this world. We cannot have the bread that nourishes the body if God, our Sustainer and Nourisher of life, does not give it to us. Our body cannot receive nourishment, strength and health from the food we eat if God does not give the bread to us, that is, to our body (Genesis 41:19-21; Psalm 106:15; Isaiah 17:4-7). Both the poor and the rich need to offer this prayer to God. Having enough food at home is one thing, having appetite to eat the food is another thing. “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the GIFT OF GOD” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). Many people in our world have food to eat but do not have appetite to eat it. “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, AND IT IS COMMON AMONG MEN: A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet GOD GIVETH HIM NOT POWER TO EAT THEREOF, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease” (Ecclesiastes 6:1,2). This is the reason why we all need to depend on God and pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
DEMAND OF THE GODLY FOR DAILY BREAD
Matthew 6:11; Genesis 28:20; 48:15,16; Proverbs 30:8; Psalm 28:9; Luke 11:5-11; Ecclesiastes 5:18-20; Isaiah 58:7-12; Philippians 4:6,19; Isaiah 41:17-20.
We must not pretend to be so spiritual that we cannot ask God to “give us this day our daily bread”, to provide our daily necessities. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, has taught us and has taught all His disciples everywhere to pray this prayer. We are to ask God to take charge of us and provide for us in all that concerns our needs and necessities in this world. God has promised and provided for all our needs. Mortal man has need of daily bread and temporal blessings. Daily bread and daily sustenance are by far the first and principal things we need. He is the truly spiritual man who is not independent of God and who is not ashamed to pray to God for his maintenance and sustenance every day. The true child of God wholeheartedly leans on God and will not lean on the arm of the flesh for his supply and sufficiency. The heavenly Father will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
DELIVERANCE FROM GREED AND DEADLY BURDEN
Matthew 6:11; Proverbs 30:7-9; Ecclesiastes 2:24-26; 5:9-17; Habakkuk 2:9-14; Proverbs 15:27; Jeremiah 17:11; Luke 12:15-21; 1 Timothy 6:6-11; Mark 8:36,37; Proverbs15:16; Colossians 3:1-6.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” This petition in the Lord’s Prayer is very instructive. The prayer condemns selfishness: it is not ‘give me this day our daily bread’, but “give us this day our daily bread.” This request also condemns covetousness: it is not ‘give us this day their daily bread’ but “give us this day our daily bread.” The petition condemns greed: it is not ‘give us this day the bread of many years’ but “give us this day our daily bread”. The prayer also condemns voluntary submission to oppression: it is not ‘give them this day our daily bread’ but “give us this day our daily bread.” Selfishness, covetousness, greed and fear of man are vices that deprive men of God’s blessings. Greed, avarice and love of money are burdens that drown men in destruction and perdition. The covetous whose main interest in life is to heap up treasures on earth will err from the faith and pierce himself through with many sorrows.
Our prayer must be free from selfish desires, covetousness, worry and anxiety concerning the future. The God of today is the God of tomorrow. He will always be there to bless us. Earthly fathers die but our heavenly Father is alive for evermore. We can always pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, ... Give us this day our daily bread.”
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