Discipleship Moment 3/30/20

>>> Prayer: Learning to Communicate with God <<<

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
Luke 11:1-13

This part of the prayer is why most people want to pray: they want God to give them stuff, things they need, want or think they need and want. “Give us this day our daily bread” is called  petitionary praying. Simply put, this is where we go from praising to petitioning or asking God for things. There is a paradox in prayer that we see in Scripture. On the one hand, we see where we pray for God’s will to be done (Matthew 6:10) and on the other hand, we are told to ask and God will give it to us (John 15:7).

This paradox is not easily explained. But, the one thing we do know is that somehow, God, who is infinite and eternal, allows mere man to play a part in the process of his own creation. Somehow prayer does change things and God does work within His sovereignty to move mountains, change the hearts of people, miraculously heal and change the outcomes of events. As C.S. Lewis wrote: “Perhaps we do not fully realize the problem, so to call it, of enabling finite free wills to co-exist with Omnipotence. It seems to involve at every moment almost a sort of divine abdication.” Lewis means that God allows human beings to play a part of the drama of life. We are not puppets on a string but God’s very own creation. This is why we should and can pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” and know that God will move heaven and earth to make sure we have it. What do we need to get in order to pray this part of the prayer effectively?

1. Get Confident

  • This is about being confident in God’s power. To truly ask God for anything and expect God to be able to deliver it, you have to believe that God is powerful enough to do it. And, you need confidence in His care for you. James 4:2 “You do not have because you do not ask.” Psalm 84:11 “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” James 1:5 says that God gives liberally to those who ask Him. God wants to shower on you everything that you need.
  • This is also about being confident in God’s care. Remember that God is described in Scripture as a Father: “Our Father, who art in heaven.” He loves to answer our prayer because He longs to give us all things out of His love for us just like a parent loves to give their children what will help them. BUT, in the context of sin, parents can begin to live their life through their children and give them things that might hurt them rather than help them.
  • HE wants to give you SO much more. Look at the Text. Luke 11:10-13. Prayer is about opening your life up to God who is the ultimate Father, the ultimate provider, the One who knows you better than you know yourself and desires to give you MORE than you could ever dream. He created everything in the universe with the power of His word. How much more does God know what you need? Therefore, you should have confidence to call on Him.

We are all guilty of this: We do not ask God for enough.
Thou art coming to a King, Large petitions with thee bring; For His grace and
power are such, None can ever ask too much”.
~ John Newton

2. Get Perspective

  • Praying with the right perspective takes going through the first part of the prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Your name. Your kingdom come! Your will
    be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When you go through praise for God and a genuine desire to see His will be done and His kingdom come on earth, in your life, then you will not pray for things outside of His will or for your own glory because you want His will and His glory!
  • Your perspective on petition has to be healed. Tim Keller writes, “The very model of the prayer shows our deepest needs are inside and not outside. Our deepest problem is really a matter of perspective, not circumstances. It’s our perspective as the reason we are worried. It’s our perspective that we are anxious and upset.” This is why we need healing.

Could it be that the reason we need this healing is that our life is off center? @ Our washer gets like this when the clothes get bundled up on one side.

What happens when we worry or get anxious is that we take our focus off God and put our focus on our own wisdom or intellect to deal with issues of life, and the reality is this, whatever we turn to has become more beautiful or wonderful than God. For example, when you need to forgive someone who has hurt you or hurt your reputation, the reason you struggle to forgive them is that your real center is your reputation or your real center is your wisdom.

Until you seek the healing of a misplaced center, you will always struggle with worry and anxiety and self-centeredness and all the things that keep you from being confident in Christ, and you will not come to Him in prayer but be left deficient of His power, His perspective and His wisdom.

The best TEST to see if you have learned this….Unanswered Prayer. Why?

3. Get Humble

Prayer is often misunderstood because we think that God should give us whatever we want, whenever we want it because He has told us to ask and He will give it. However, we fail to understand that prayer is based and designed on a parent child platform. In other words, the best way to think about prayer is to think about parenting.

What do your kids think they need or want but you know it would do them harm if you gave it to them?

Why would it be awful for a child to get Aladdin’s lamp?
This is prayer without a filter, without parameters, without wisdom. There is no safety latch or safety gate so that they fall down the steps. There is no supervision to keep them from slipping away.

Prayer can never be based on what we want exclusively because it takes maturity to ask for the right things. The more mature you are the better, BUT you will NEVER get to the point that at times you are an idiot. You simply go off the rails and ask for things that you have no business asking for. No matter how old you are or how seasoned in life you become. The bible says that you are always going to be an idiot. You need the right perspective.

Why? Because people inevitably say, “But, God says, ‘Ask and I will give it to you’. What’s up with that? Is God lying or playing a trick on us?” When you think like this, prayer is like Aladdin’s lamp where God pops out to give you whatever you want, rather than thinking of prayer as from a parent’s perspective. Keller said, “Good parents always distinguish between the need and the child’s interpretation of the need, which is what the request is. Good parents do not respond to unwise proposals, but they always still discern what is underneath, what is the condition or desire of the heart.” What are they really looking for?

You see, God knows what you need even before you ask. We struggle to let go of what we have that we think is enough when God wants to give us so much more. It’s like the child is is redirected when he asks for something that may be dangerous or the wrong time but his response is that he doesn’t want anything and goes off pouting. Ot like the child who doesn’t trust that the parent truly loves her and settles for only what she can attain. @ Child who grabs the candy…

Sometimes, what we want to give up (like a pain or suffering or trial) God does not allow us to give us because the greater good is to keep it. @ Jesus in the Garden…Resurrection and Redemption.
“God always gives you what you would have asked for if you knew everything He knows.”

This is why we know that God always answers!

The more a child recognizes the fact that they are a child and humbles themselves, the more you want to give. It’s the child who pouts and refuses to believe their request is foolish that is the hardest to bless. God loves our humility because we understand that when he says no or wait, we get it and understand without getting bitter.

4. Get Reconciled

God sets us up for dependence on Him. You might not like that, but that is the way God designed life. Some people see this and accept it but so many people reject it. However, when we realize that we can do nothing and really have nothing, then we finally get in touch with how God made us and will cry out to Him. You have to get reconciled to this fact or you will continually be reactive to life, bitter at disappointments, disillusioned with life’s ups and downs and dependent on things of the world that can never satisfy.

God is God and you are NOT. Be glad about that. I know I am!!

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