The Perfect Prayer

“This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father I heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”      Matthew 6:9-11  (NIV)

It is interesting, and yes, a bit troubling, that Jesus instructs me to pray for bread enough for only today.  Only today.  In this prayer, my past is brought up to forgive my sins.  My future is about the temptations that may come my way and the assurance that God is not surprised by those either.  My present, my today – God will provide enough ‘bread’, of everything that I need…for today.

Keep me from lying and being dishonest. And don’t make me either rich or poor; just give me enough food for each day. If I have too much, I might reject you and say, ‘I don’t know the LORD.’ If I am poor, I might steal and disgrace the name of my God.            Proverbs 30:8-9 (NCV)

Jesus said the same thing that the Wisdom of Proverbs said, ‘enough food for each day’!  It is a trust issue.  Trust God that He knows what I need for today and knows even what tomorrow will bring and has that in His hand also.

When things are going well, the ‘bread’ that God provides are like ‘Twinkies’ or ‘Oreos’ on my plate!  The time is sweet.  I want to just spend a lot of time with the Lord and enjoy the meal He has prepared for me.  This is God’s kitchen not His restaurant where I receive my ‘daily bread’.  It’s not a restaurant because I don’t come in expecting a menu where I order what I want. It is God’s kitchen where He plans what He knows what I need.  Some days have more vegetables where I receive lessons and some days have meat that I have to chew and chew and swallow in small bites so I don’t choke! God’s lessons of His love and mercy to me are sweet. His lessons of unconditional love and mercy that I extend to others in the same way that I want to receive it…are as palatable as cauliflower! (I don’t like cauliflower, by the way!) The larger lessons of how He works and His way of wisdom require some chewing on my part and take a little longer to ‘digest’.  And then there are those cups of suffering and pain that are sometimes so vile and difficult to look at.  Jesus was given a cup like that.  What did He do?

Jesus who knew the Father and trusted Him completely, looked at what the Father was giving Him that day for His ‘bread’ and said, “Oh, no!  Please give me something else! … But, I’ll drink it … with your help.”  (Luke 22:41)

Yes, sometimes what is on my plate for this day is difficult to consume.  The cup may contain suffering and hardship that seems impossible to drink: the loss of a job, wrongful accusations of co-workers or even family and friends, the loss of someone you love and it hurts so much you may think you will never eat again.  Jesus has been there and He even asked the Father to take the cup from Him.  The Father’s response was “No”.

Whatever the Father serves me this day, I must take that step of trust in faith and know from my past experiences with Him that He will send me the strength I need…for today.  I may never be exonerated in this world.  I may never have all the answers to my questions in this world.  But I will always have Jesus before me and His Holy Spirit surrounding me and my ‘Abba Father’ who loves me.  I have what I need…for today.

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