In the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, He encourages us to ask God for what we need. He also teaches us what we need. Of course what we need is far different than what we want.
Most of us learn to pray about what we want. I can still remember the first time I felt God answer a personal prayer that I had prayed. I was in third grade. We were all standing up in a line having a Spelling Bee. I was so afraid that I would be mortified by being the first one who misspelled a word. I didn’t know what to do so I turned to prayer. I had just become a Christian the year before and I guess I had leaned somewhere that when you need something, you can ask God to give it to you. I was as desperate as any little third grade girl could be over the prospects of messing up first. I don’t remember how far I got in the Spelling Bee but I do remember that I wasn’t the first, or second, or third one out. I was so amazed. I couldn’t believe that the God of the Universe had listened to my little prayer.
From that time on, my prayers remained over what I wanted or felt that I needed. I rarely prayed for anyone else or anything else. As I matured God called me into intercessory prayer. I remember making time in my college schedule to pray for the needs of missionaries and the world. As the years went by in my spiritual journey, I found myself not praying for what I wanted much at all. My prayers seemed to be fully focused on what others needed. It hit me one day that I didn’t pray much for me because I knew that I was so cared for by God.
Lately, my prayers have moved back into a blend, as I have felt God call me to be more specific in my prayer. The more specific I am the more involved I realize that God is in my life.
You see that is why I think Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread. It is vital to stay connected to God through prayer. It is spirit-lifting to see the connection to your specific prayers and what happens in your life. This increases your faith and helps you see that God is who He says He is. It is through the prayer of the daily that we come to experience God and His intimacy with us.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught us about the daily. Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” There is a spiritual purpose of taking it one day at a time. Far before Alcoholics Anonymous made this a slogan, Jesus gave this wisdom in the focus of our prayers.
Paying attention to the daily will guide your thoughts to experience the fullness of God. I dread to think of how much I miss of God by focusing on my worries about the future. God is a daily God. He wants us to experience Him one day at a time or we will miss too much of His involvement and love. His love is so big and amazing that we cannot take it in unless we are in each day.
God invites you into the full reality of this day when He asks you to pray for your daily bread. Most of us live in a world where our daily bread is not a major concern for our lives. Perhaps it should be. Perhaps if we thought of God as much as we think about eating today our prayer time would multiply in numbers of minutes we pray.
What about this day can you experience most fully with God? At the end of the day, do a daily Examen. Ask God to show you when in this day you felt most loved, where in this day you felt most unloved. Take time to thank God and connect to Him and ask for His guidance about the experiences of this day.