Savoring The Lord’s Prayer
My heart still quickens when I think about the moment Gracie first recited The Lord’s Prayer with me and whispered, “Mama, that’s beautiful” into my ear. Why is The Lord’s Prayer so beautiful? Perhaps because these are the words God himself teaches us to say to him? What could be more beautiful than God himself expressing to us how we can draw near to him through prayer?
Prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us.
When we are engaged in the Christian walk, transformation is part of the goal. How does prayer help that process? The answer is actually in The Lord’s Prayer. These are the words that deeply connect us to our Lord and His transformative power. But, sometimes our spiritual life, our very prayer life feels dried up and stagnant. Why?
Perhaps we are missing the model that Jesus set for us in The Lord’s Prayer. As Dr. Timothy Keller asks: What is the majority of our prayer time spent on? It seems our natural default is to engage in the “self-loathing plea for forgiveness” and “vending machine” prayers. But, if we follow Jesus’ model in The Lord’s Prayer then we engage our prayer time focused on adoring this magnificently loving Father, his abundant provision, never ending grace, eternal mercy, and his reign as King over all!
If we want to really know God and experience His power in our lives we need to change how we relate to him. If we spend more time adoring God, admiring His majesty, how he holds the universe in the palm of his hand- yet knows each one of us by name, if we genuinely pour our love over Him- counting every blessing right down to the seemingly mundane and right up to the unfathomable passionate love of laying down his life for us— then maybe we would better grab hold of who He is, and trust His promises.
But you see, we can’t just think of it as “What he’s done for us.” When we do that we lump ourselves in with everyone else and distance ourselves from the deep and shocking truth that has the power to move our hearts. The truth of his passionate love for YOU! We must not just say: Lord, what you have done for “us” but rather, Lord, what you have done for me… my heart is consumed with the grandeur of your unsurpassing love! This is the meal we must savor for our souls— But how?
Honestly, I believe the delicious beauty of The Lord’s Prayer rests in these words:
“Give us this day our daily bread….”
I think we gloss over these words too quickly. We think they simply refer to our physical needs of today. And on the surface, we are right. We are praying for God’s sustaining provision for this day- not to worry about tomorrow’s needs, for as Jesus says, there is enough worry in today. But, I believe we cheat this verse if we leave it at that. Our real daily needs are more than physical provision. We need spiritual provision. Our souls hunger every bit as much as our bellies do. When we are praying for our daily bread we are not just praying for our physical needs, we are praying for our daily provision of soul food.
So what is our “Daily Bread?”
Doug and I have a running “truth said in jest” When it comes to any open question we are grappling with or mulling over we say to each other:
Jesus is the answer. Jesus is always the answer!
And that’s the case here. Jesus is the answer. He is our daily bread. He said himself: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:51 NIV) He is our soul food, our spiritual provision for today.
How do we meet the needs of this day? Jesus. How do we deal with the temptations of today? Jesus. Where do we get the grace to extend to those who aren’t so gracious? Jesus. How can I deal with difficult people? Jesus. What is the cure of me being the “difficult” person? Jesus. Where does my help come from? Jesus. Where do we get an overflowing well of patience? Jesus. What gives us sustaining Joy for every moment? Jesus.
Jesus is the answer. Jesus is always the answer. We need our portion of him every day!
This is the feast your heart needs to devour! He fills every need and quiets every hunger of our aching soul in a broken world. He is the only bread that doesn’t run out! All day long you can go back for seconds, thirds, fourths… He is eternal abundance. He is your portion. Do you know what that means? Your plate will always be full. Your cup will never run dry. You will never come to the end of Him. You can never begin to consume Him the way we exhaust the resources of this world. There is always more! And you, his child, are always welcome to come back for more!
“Jesus declared: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:33, 35)
What are our prayers filled with– personal requests and begging forgiveness? Or adoration and filling up on “our daily bread?” That’s the point of prayer– not to get “our” prayers answered,not to “get” forgiveness — the point is to Get Jesus!
“For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:33)
There are plenty of things in this world that you can get enough of, but Jesus isn’t one of them. The divine sweetness of chocolate cake comes with diminishing returns after the 3rd slice (4th slice for me— I get high returns for chocolate!) but, seriously, every taste the soul gets of Jesus is sweeter than the last. That’s our daily bread. That’s the provision we pray for in The Lord’s Prayer.
This prayer stands the test of time. Many who are far from God turn to this prayer in their darkest hour because it fills them. This is the prayer we go to— this plea to be filled with the real bread that satisfies our hungry souls the way nothing in this world can.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.