Game plan for prayer: express our dependence

June 25, 2024
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by Shannon Caughey

It’s tempting to think we are self-sufficient. If we need something, we make it happen. We work hard to earn a living in order to provide food, shelter, clothing, etc., for ourselves and our family. In coaching, we determine what’s required for competitive success and we go after it. 

Because of our sense of self-sufficiency, we might be surprised that Jesus instructs us to ask our Heavenly Father for this: “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Does Jesus really want us to pray for bread each day? What is Jesus teaching us about prayer through directing us to include this request?

We’re continuing our series of devotions on the game plan for prayer that Jesus gives in Matthew 6:9-13, often referred to as the Lord’s Prayer. As a reminder, Jesus is not saying that we must use these exact words every time we pray or that we can only pray about the items found in these verses. His purpose is to provide a framework. We’ll grow in prayer as we consistently apply this framework to how we pray.

As we’ve seen in previous devotions, following Christ’s framework for prayer encourages us to begin with a God-focus: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The request that’s our focus in this devotion follows: “Give us today our daily bread.” Why include this in how we pray? Here are a couple of purposes that undergird this dimension of the game plan for prayer Jesus gives us:

1. We recognize and express our dependence upon God for everything we need.

This prayer goes beyond asking God to provide food. It’s recognizing that he is the source of everything we need. While we may work to earn a paycheck and put bread on the table, it’s God who created us with the ability to do what we do. It’s God who gives us opportunities and provides innumerable other resources so we can take advantage of these opportunities.

When we come to God with our needs—big, small, and everything in between—we’re expressing our complete dependence upon him. We’re turning away from the illusion of self-sufficiency and acknowledging we need God. We’re looking to him, our Heavenly Father who knows our needs and generously provides because he loves us.

2. We trust God’s provision for today rather than worrying about tomorrow.

Notice the emphasis on the present. We ask God “today” to provide for our “daily” needs. A little later in Matthew 6, Jesus addresses our tendency to worry. He affirms our Heavenly Father’s loving care for us and his ability to meet our every need. Jesus then concludes, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:34). Jesus is saying it’s fruitless to worry about tomorrow. Instead, focus on trusting God for all that we need today.

When we pray according to Jesus’ “give us today our daily bread” framework, we’re choosing to place our confidence in God for what he knows we need in the present. As we do so day after day, we cultivate powerful trust in the Lord rather than pointlessly worrying about things over which we have little or no control. We understand our daily dependence upon God, we believe he will provide what we need for this day, and we rest in his loving care.

Coach, you’ll grow in prayer and grow in your relationship with the Lord as you consistently incorporate this part of Christ’s game plan for prayer. Express your dependence upon him for all things—with coaching and in every other area. Trust God’s gracious provision of everything he knows you need today. And rejoice in his love for you and generosity to you.

For reflection: Take some time to talk with God about your current needs. Acknowledge your dependence upon him for all things. Thank him for his loving care for you and your needs.



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