From Max Lucado's weekly email comes the following:
“Give us this day our daily bread…”
Your first step into the house of God was not to the kitchen but to the living room, where you were reminded of your adoption. “Our Father who is in heaven.” You then studied the foundation of the house, where you pondered his permanence. “Our Father who is in heaven.” Next you entered the observatory and marveled at his handiwork: “Our Father who is in heaven.” In the chapel, you worshiped his holiness: “Hallowed be thy name.” In the throne room, you touched the lowered scepter and prayed the greatest prayer, “Thy kingdom come.” In the study, you submitted your desires to his and prayed, “Thy will be done.” And all of heaven was silent as you placed your prayer in the furnace, saying, “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Proper prayer follows such a path, revealing God to us before revealing our needs to God. (You might reread that one.) The purpose of prayer is not to change God, but to change us, and by the time we reach God’s kitchen, we are changed people. Wasn’t our heart warmed when we called him Father? Weren’t our fears stilled when we contemplated his constancy? Weren’t we amazed as we stared at the heavens?
Seeing his holiness caused us to confess our sin. Inviting his kingdom to come reminded us to stop building our own. Asking God for his will to be done placed our will in second place to his. And realizing that heaven pauses when we pray left us breathless in his presence.
By the time we step into the kitchen, we’re renewed people! We’ve been comforted by our father, conformed by his nature, consumed by our creator, convicted by his character, constrained by his power, commissioned by our teacher, and compelled by his attention to our prayers.
The prayer’s next three petitions encompass all of the concerns of our life. “This daily bread” addresses the present. “Forgive our sins” addresses the past. “Lead us not into temptation” speaks to the future. (The wonder of God’s wisdom: how he can reduce all our needs to three simple statements.)
First he addresses our need for bread. The term means all of a person’s physical needs. Martin Luther defined bread as “Everything necessary for the preservation of this life, including food, a healthy body, house, home, wife and children.” This verse urges us to talk to God about the necessities of life. He may also give us the luxuries of life, but he certainly will grant the necessities.
Any fear that God wouldn’t meet our needs was left in the observatory. Would he give the stars their glitter and not give us our food? Of course not. He has committed to care for us. We aren’t wrestling crumbs out of a reluctant hand, but rather confessing the bounty of a generous hand. The essence of the prayer is really an affirmation of the Father’s care. Our provision is his priority.
From The Great House of God
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1997) Max Lucado