Jesus started His “sample” prayer with centering on God, both in His holiness and His grace to accept us as children. He then shifts to the practical, where we often find at the forefront of our thoughts.
The God of Provision
Jesus continued (Matthew 6:11):
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
In many ways these words are more a statement of faith than a request. By saying “daily bread,” there already exists the expectation that our basic needs will consistently be met. Later in the chapter Jesus elaborates (Matthew 6:25-26):
“For this reason [you cannot serve God and wealth]. I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”
This promise that God is trustworthy is also an exhortation to trust. In that simple sentence of prayer we can state our dependence on God and our belief that He is faithful at all times. It is not a lengthy description of needs in an attitude of uncertainty about God’s ability to “handle” all our problems.
Why Do We Worry So Much?
We find it very easy to focus on might lacking or what could go wrong, rather than focusing on what God has given us and how He can use us. We seem to forget His Sovereignty: if He can manage the birds and the rest of creation, He certainly can provide for our needs! The problem is often found in the reasons we worry.
Worry about the Unnecessary:
Sometimes the problem is our skewed perception of “need.” If our goals are based on success and comfort (the need to get a promotion, the need for recognition, the need to have a nicer car, the need for all the amenities the vast majority of the world population would consider a privilege), than having all our requests granted might work against the most important parts of life: loving God and loving our neighbors. As Jesus said, we can’t serve both God and “money” (or other forms of selfishness) at the same time.
Worry Based on Our Own Faults:
Often our concerns come from self-doubt, all the “what-ifs.” What if I don’t get the job? What if I make a mistake? What if nobody likes me? What if I’m not good enough? Sometimes we picture all the things that could go wrong, before there exists a problem. These thought patterns clearly reveal the underlying focus and dependence on ourselves, rather than seeking intimacy with and dependence on God.
Worry about the Unknown:
We also have a tendency to like feeling we have some control over our lives or circumstances. When facing changes, whether viewed as positive or negative changes, we lose some of the security found in the familiar. The reality if there are always going things outside of our control and the only perfect “constant” we have is the Sovereign, Faithful, Loving God who is in control. He is the best place to find security, not only on earth, but for eternity!
Growing in Trust
I know I often fall into the patterns of worrying, especially without a steady income or permanent residence. But God has shown me so many times that He is in control! Would you be willing to join me in seeking to depend more on Him and focus less on ourselves?
Hear Jesus say to you today:
You are my child and I will always care for you. I am Sovereign. My plan is bigger and better than anything you could ever plan! Already I have opened doors that were not within your expectations, even though some were hard to recognize as positive. I love you and am always faithful. Keep trusting me for what lies ahead.
A Final Reminder
If you are ever worried about where tomorrows bread will come from, look at a US penny (or any other US currency). There is your reminder: In God We Trust