Verse of the Day 11-5-22

Our Father in heaven…Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:9 and 11

These two verses come from Jesus’ teaching on prayer that is found in what has been called his “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). Jesus starts his teaching on prayer with how we should not pray starting in Matthew 6:5 and ending in Matthew 6:8, in which he says:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:5-8

After telling us how not to pray Jesus then gives us an example of how we should pray starting in verse 9 and ending in verse 13. With this model prayer (not the Lord’s Prayer as we sometimes mistake it for), Jesus suggests some priorities that should be in the prayer life of one of his followers. This short model prayer contains six petitions or requests: the first three have to do with God’s holiness (i.e., his purity, his perfection, his completeness and his separation from evil) and God’s will (i.e., his plans and his desires that reflect his character and his purposes), and is found in verses 9-10; the second three have to do with the personal needs of you the individual follower of Christ. The short length of this prayer does not mean that we should pray only briefly about our concerns. Even though sincere prayer does not have to be lengthy, we must remember that there were times when Jesus himself prayed all night long (Luke 6:12).

Each one of these petitions should began with the phrase that we find in verse 9, “Our Father in heaven.” Why should each ever one of our requests begin with “Our Father in heaven” or something similar? Simply because prayer involves worshiping (i.e., expressing honor and worthiness) our Heavenly Father and communicating openly with him. But, how we can all do this when not all of us can relate to good relationship with an earthly father? Simply because God is everything we could ever hope for in father figure; and more importantly, unlike earthly father’s he will never let us down. But before we can address our prayers to “our Heavenly Father” we need to understand three important things about God as our Father.

  1. As a loving Father, God cares for us, guides us and welcomes us to have a deep and open friendship with him. Through our faith in Christ, we have access to the Father at any time to worship him and to express our needs (Matthew 6:25-34).
  2. As a Father, God does not tolerate evil in his children or fail to discipline them correctly (as some earthly fathers do). To do anything less would not be good for us. God opposes sin and what it can do to his children.
  3. As a Heavenly Father, God can punish as well as bless, withhold as well as give, and act with justice as well as with mercy. How God responds to his children depends on their faith in and obedience to him. Yet we can be confident that all of God’s guidance and discipline are for our good.

Now that we know to whom our requests our made lets look at the first request Jesus gives that is dealing with a personal need, which also happens to be our verse for today, “Give us today our daily bread.” Notice that Jesus said “give us today” not “give us tomorrow’s.” Jesus in this short verse is reminding us that prayer is to be a daily thing and that our prayers should contain requests for God to provide for our daily needs (Philippians 4:19 and Luke 11:3). In other words, we should not be focusing on having more than we really need for the simple reason it can lead to discontentment. And discontentment is the root of greed and unthankfulness, which ultimate leads us to putting things ahead of God. There is another name for this and that is idolatry, and it all starts with out discontentment toward God and things he has given us. The way fight this problem is to always be ready to express our thanks for whatever God has chosen to give us, because as our Heavenly Father God does know what is best for us and, therefore, will never let us down.

Today’s Bible Readings:

Ezekiel 12:1-14:11, Hebrews 7:1-17, Psalm 105:37-45 and Proverbs 27:3

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