Give us this day, our daily bread
Prayer is active, not passive. The Father reveals His love to you, and He gives you faith to pray with confidence. You pray to get on God’s page and be obedient to His will for your life. When you do this, you assume a role in His grand, kingdom story. And when you live for God’s kingdom, you live the life God always intended for you. Before your group meets, go before the Father in prayer. Ask Him to prepare your heart for your discussion and allow Him to reveal His truth to you about how He meets your needs in every new day.
MY PRAYERS THIS WEEK
What or who are you praying for this week?
How is God answering your prayers?
What is He revealing to you?
Truth in Life
God gives me what I need to live for Him today.
Jesus was right. Each new day brings with it new troubles. Do you sometimes wonder whether you have what it takes to get through the day? Bills are due. Your children need your attention and care, and you’ve already put in a full work week. That exam is tomorrow, and you are swamped with other responsibilities. You could probably fill in the blank with a dozen or more needs you have right now.
To be human is to need. God created us to depend on Him to supply our needs. The Father knows you have needs, and He wants to meet them. Our God is a God of Provision. Throughout Scripture, from the garden in Genesis to the new heavens and new earth in Revelation, God shows us that He provides for His people. God gives you what you need to live for Him today. There is no need too big or small that God can’t meet in your life.
Q: What need did you wake up with this morning?
Q: What does it say about your relationship with God that you were created to depend on Him?
LEARNING FROM THE MASTER
When Jesus teaches His disciples to pray for God to “give us this day our daily bread,” He directs their attention to food, a basic necessity for life. Bread was an essential part of one’s diet in Jesus’ day. We have relatively easy access to food today. We can go to the grocery store, McDonald’s, or the convenience store. When Jesus walked the earth, food was scarce. And most first-century laborers worked for a daily wage, not a salary. Break a leg or fall ill and you and your family risked going hungry or worse.1
The fourth petition that Jesus gives is for God to supply our daily needs. Jesus doesn’t teach us to pray for something extravagant. No, He prays for God the Father to meet our basic needs one day at a time. And, really, that’s what we need—for God to take care of today because all we can really handle is today. Later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expounds on our relationship with the Father. He tells us that God knows exactly what we need and provides for even the smallest need.2
Q: Do you pray for God to meet your basic needs? What are they?
Q: How would you see life and its concerns differently if you focused more on today than the future?
POWERFUL PRAYER PRINCIPLE
The fourth Powerful Prayer Principle is request. Jesus promises you that the Father responds to your requests and gives you good things (Matt. 7:7-11). Your Heavenly Father is 10,000 times better than the world’s best father ever could be. So, just imagine the good things He will give you when you ask Him.3 Because the Father loves you and cares for you, He welcomes you to come to Him with your needs. You can be confident that His answer will be a gift for your ultimate good.
Q: In what ways can God’s answer be a gift, even when it’s one that you don’t want or expect?
CHANGED BY PRAYER
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). Ask. Seek. Knock. Those three words point to persistence in prayer. That’s what Jesus calls us to be when we go to the Father. God will answer your prayers in His perfect timing. If God’s answer for you is “not yet,” don’t stop praying. Pray with persistence through the waiting. Remember that God is at work in your heart, even in the waiting. Change so often happens in the waiting.
Q: What are some practical ways to be persistent in your prayers?
Q: What would it look like for you to be on God’s page more in your life?
The Promise of Prayer
God’s answers are always what’s best for you. As your Father, He never does anything to harm you. He will never honor a bad request because He knows better than you what’s best for you.4 Yes, His answers may not always be what you want to hear. Sometimes God says “no” or “not yet.” The promise of prayer is that the Father will always answer you for your good and at just the right time.
Q: What’s one thing you can do this week to remember the promise of prayer?
Reflection & PRAYER
Take five minutes to complete the Reflection and Response section below.
HOW IS GOD SPEAKING TO...
What is He teaching you?
In what ways is He reshaping how you see Him? How you see yourself?
What is He calling you (or your group) to do?
Make a list of personal requests for daily needs. Pray for them out loud as a group.
1. D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition), ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, vol. 9 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 205.
2. To illustrate this truth about the Father, Jesus points His followers to look at the birds in the air and the flowers in the field (Matt. 6:25-34). They do nothing for God, and, yet, He satisfies the bird’s hunger and makes the flowers beautiful beyond comparison. Then, Jesus asks, “Are you not of more value than they?” (v.26). Of course, this is a rhetorical question. Birds don’t bear God’s image. Neither do flowers. You do. By that fact alone, you are far more valuable to God.
3. James tells us that we don’t have because we don’t ask (James 4:2). When you give God your requests, you give Him the opportunity to show up and provide for you. Prayer isn’t pestering God. He isn’t annoyed when we ask Him for things. Trust that God wants to provide for you.
4. Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations in our prayers or we pray for the wrong things. The truth is, we aren’t fully aware of how much our sinful self affects our prayers. Because of this, we are often unprepared for the answers God gives us. When God answers our prayers
in unexpected ways, we sometimes wonder how they are really “answers.” They only seem to come with more pain, more waiting, or more trouble. The truth is, God’s best gifts often come to us in unexpected ways that include a path of suffering or sorrow before there is joy. Jon Bloom, “The Unexpected Answers of God,” Desiring God, July 11, 2014, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-unexpected-answers-of-god (accessed January 8, 2018).