2005-02-28_0857-25Our study of the Lord’s Prayer takes us to this request: “Give us today our daily bread.”

What does that mean? On the face of it, it is simple. “Lord, please supply the food we need today.” That prayer doesn’t have much meaning for most of us today, since we usually have enough food for several days in our cupboards and refrigerators. It would obviously become a desperate prayer if we were living in the conditions that some of our brothers and sisters around the world are. When I pray this, I know there is a bowl of cereal, milk, and a piece of bread somewhere in the near future.

Nevertheless, I pray that the Lord will continue to provide our daily bread along and also for our family, friends, and His Church. It is at this time that I tell Him that I agree with His heart to provide for His widows, orphans, and persecuted ones. I pray that He will provide for those who have lost their breadwinners through persecution or martyrdom. I ask the Lord to comfort them in their loss. I take the opportunity here to ask that those brothers and sisters who are in prison be released. “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body” (Hebrews 13:3). I also pray at this time for relatives or friends of mine who need financial support. Right now, this includes a brother in India who is attempting to start up a YWAM base in a new city and a lady in Mexico who is raising funds to build an orphanage. I also thank the Lord for the food that I’ll be eating as well as for the funds that He has provided for Laurie and me to live on.

Uncomfortable confession: Only recently have I come to understand that the New Testament doesn’t compare receiving spiritual sustenance by reading God’s word to eating bread. The only place I can find that eating bread has spiritual significance is in eating the body of Jesus, which we call communion. When He said, “I am the bread of life” in John 6, He was referring to the eating of His flesh, not His words.

The next request is, “…and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”

This is the time when I confess my general sins to the Father. First among these is my inability to keep the first commandment, basically, all the time: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself. I am just frankly unable to do that. Truth be told, I don’t even know how to do that in its fullness. So, I ask for forgiveness for my sinful inability to love Him and others as I should.

I will mention at this time some specific sin(s) I’ve committed, because they may come to mind, but I’ve already asked for forgiveness for any especially egregious ones. I just can’t delay asking for His forgiveness soon after I’ve blatantly sinned. This usually involves smacking the palm of my hand against my forehead! However, the next morning when I come before Him, I often feel that I must talk to Him some more about what happened, mostly to tell Him how sorry I am, and how thankful I am for His grace and forgiveness. I’m sure this activity is for my benefit, to help me work out the truth of my condition in His presence. Perhaps like you, each time I confess my sins to God, I think that He is totally within His rights to deny His forgiveness. Often, I must believe in faith, not relying on feelings, that everything I’ve learned about Him, the cross, Jesus’ blood, His mercies, and His steadfast love is true, because sometimes I feel very unworthy and unlovable. I feel like an idiot and that I have disappointed Him. There have been times when I feel like my sin has separated me from Him for a while, but I cannot tell if that is due to my own feelings of guilt and disappointment or not. Regardless, it isn’t long before fellowship is restored. I look forward to the Day when I will never sin against Him again. I hate it. However, I also must obviously love whatever sin I’d committed, or I wouldn’t have done it.

It is also here that I ask for help forgiving those people in my life that I am struggling or have struggled to forgive. A couple of these have been lingering for years. I ask the Lord to give me love for them and to remove all ill feelings. Separation in time and space has dulled the active life of that unforgiveness, but I know in my heart that there is an unfinished work and healing that only He can do. I need His help so this root of bitterness will continue to die completely.