Jesus told us to ask the Father for our daily bread. We are tempted to devote prayer to the chocolate donuts of luxury and comfort. But none of these pleasures are good, if our real needs are not met. Two truths emerge from the wording of this prayer. Needs are immediate. And needs are ultimate.
We have a tendency to pray for God to provide our needs far into the future. These seem to be prayers for God to provide so we will not have to trust him ever again. I have terminal cancer. God has not chosen to remove my cancer. But I have lived and often been basically healthy years longer than my doctors told me I would. Not long ago a friend introduced me as a cancer survivor. I told him later that I couldn't say that. He said, "Every day you are alive, you are a survivor." I told one of my doctors I was doing better than he thought I would because people were praying for me. He was silent for a moment and then said, "That's right."Our needs are also ultimate. You will die if you do not have food to eat. You have other ultimate needs. Some are physical like the need for bread. Others are emotional, intellectual or spiritual. From an ultimate perspective our greatest needs are spiritual. Life is ultimately meaningless without a sense of wonder, truth, purpose, righteousness and security. These only come from God. They are the fruit of the gospel in our lives. Jesus died that we might have life truly, fully and eternally. Are you focusing on the greatest needs that face us? Or are your prayers distracted by lesser things. My cancer brings an urgency to my life. I don't want to devote most of my energy to praying for a better parking place at the donut shop.
Next week we will look at praying for forgiveness.