Matthew 6:11 (ESV)
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
This part of the prayer lesson is often difficult for me. We're not taught by this world to just ask for what we need today. What about all my inevitable future needs, like medical expenses, retirement savings, and college tuition for my four children? How can I only be concerned about just today with all of tomorrow crashing down on me?
Clearly, one of the principles Jesus is teaching His disciples is to focus on today and not to worry about tomorrow. He makes this point more directly just a few verses further down.
Matthew 6:34 (ESV)
34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
The other difficulty I have with this lesson however, is the principle of total dependency on God. I'm often not too concerned about my basic needs today. Today I have a full pantry and refrigerator, I have a job, and I know I have a safe place to sleep tonight. As I come to the Father with my needs, what I need just to survive is not on my mind.
Sure, there may be times where that day is in crisis. However, once the crises passes, I quickly fall into a self-sufficient mind set. It's this self-sufficient mind set that causes a majority of my prayer life problems. In fact, it not only hinders my prayers when I pray, it often leads me to not pray at all.
I know that the very air I breathe each day is a gift from God. I know that anything but total dependency on Him for my daily spiritual, mental, and physical needs is idolatry. I know that depending on myself and the circumstances around me is building my house on sand. I just need to get that knowledge from my brain to be ingrained in my heart.
Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (ESV)
4 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
I can't get this knowledge from my head to my heart on my own. This is why we need to pray for our daily bread. Not only for our daily physical needs, but for our daily Bread of Life.
John 6:35 (ESV)
35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
We have the promise, that if we pray for this Bread, our Father will move His word from our head to our heart.
Luke 11:13 (ESV)
13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"