Read: Luke 11
“Give us each day the food we need.” (Luke 11:3, NLT)
If your house is like mine, your refrigerator is full—of both known food substances as well as new and developing life forms. Likewise, your pantry is probably stocked, maybe even with leftovers from Y2K. It is likely that you have never gone without a meal, except by choice. We live at a time where two-thirds of Americans are overweight, according to the Surgeon General, so why pray, as Jesus taught, for more daily food?
Jesus knew something that we forget: It is not daily food that we need; we need God each and every day. The issue is not just about having a full stomach, it is primarily about having a full heart. Jesus is teaching us about the contentedness that comes from connecting with a Father who will take care of his children—something far more satisfying than a full stomach! Praying for bread and food reminds us that God will not only provide the answer we need in that moment; he is the answer to all of our life!
In a very real sense, the greatest answer to our prayers is actually praying this prayer. How is that? It connects us to the God who cares for us. A few verses later, in Luke 11:11-13, Jesus frames it in this context:
“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
Of course, if a child asks his parent for a necessity, any good parent will provide the child’s need. It is simply a natural part of a healthy parent-child relationship. If you are a parent, you get that because God has hardwired into your genetic code the desire to meet the needs of your children. Because you love them, you will do everything you can to meet their needs. When they are confident of that, they are on their way to emotional well being, peace of mind, and contentedness in life.
If that is true of you, an imperfect parent with incomplete knowledge and limited resources, how much more true is it of your Heavenly Father who is pure in love, complete in wisdom and unlimited in power? He not only gives us what we need, he gives himself: “How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?”
Do you see what Jesus is showing? Prayer not only produces a result, it produces something far better: a relationship. That is why Jesus taught us to come back every day to ask God. He wanted us to be ever mindful that our Heavenly Father is not only the answer to our momentary need, he, himself, is the source of our very life.
Yes, even more satisfying than a full stomach is a full heart!
“None but God can satisfy the longing of the immortal soul; as the heart was made for Him, He only can fill it.” ~Richard Trench
What If God Took Over?
Pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray in Luke 11:2-4—The Lord’s Prayer. Try offering it with the focus on relationship more than result. Your Father will be pleased!
“Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give me each day the food I need, and forgive my sins, as I forgive those who sin against me. And don’t let me yield to temptation.”