The Teaching of Jesus on Prayer – Part 3 of 6
Expanded and Adapted From The HOPE Study Guide
If you wanted to learn how to pray, who would you choose for a teacher? In Matthew 6:9-13, you can find a model prayer given to you by Jesus Himself. It was not given simply to recite, but to teach you how to pray. It has been called “the true pattern for all prayer.” Each verse in this prayer identifies an important aspect of prayer. This is part 2 of 6 in our study of the model prayer. Our focus here is verse 11.
“Give us the day our daily bread.” – Matthew 6:11
When you give your life to God, you are no longer your own. You belong to Him, and your well-being is His responsibility. He is your Father, and He promises to provide what you need to live the life He has called you to live. Consider the following verses – Matthew 6:25-33, Psalm 37:25, Philippians 4:19. It has been said that God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s provision. That statement is most often applied to ministries, but it is equally applicable to people.
A plural prayer – Notice that this prayer instructs us to pray in the plural; “us” and “our”, not “me” and “my.” As a child of your heavenly Father, you are a member of the Body of Christ. Your identity is only fully understood and experienced in relationship to His Body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). If God has given you two loaves of bread, and you only need one, then He has given you your brother’s loaf. Your mission as a member of the Body of Christ is to allow your Father to show you who is to receive that second loaf. In this, the Body will be built up, and the character of our Father will be made known.
A daily prayer – Why the “daily” part? For one thing, depending on God for your daily needs keeps your relationship with Him current and fresh. It also helps you to see a clear relationship between your need and His provision. Keep in mind that the ultimate purpose of prayer is not to get things or to get things done. It is to glorify God by knowing Him and making Him known. When you pray specifically for a specific need and that prayer is answered in a specific way, then God becomes more real to you and to those around you who know what He has done. He receives glory, and you grow in your understanding of His character, His nature, and His ways.
A page from the life of George Mueller (1805-1898) – Prayer was the vital component of George Mueller’s nineteenth-century ministry to England’s orphans. As founder of several orphanages, he handled more than $8 million, although his own worldly possessions were valued at about $800 at his death. The following is just one example among many of Mueller’s dependency on God through prayer.
“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.”
Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children.*
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication (petition) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6, emphasis added).