I was reading this morning through Joel Beeke’s and Brian Najapfour’s book Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer when something just hit me right between the eyes.
Writing about John Knox’s teaching on prayer, specifically, why God sometimes denies our prayers, they offer one reason is, according to Knox, our own hypocrisy. Quoting Knox.
“When men ask of God things whereof they have no need… In such cases a great number to offend, principally the mighty and rich of the earth, who for a common custom, will pray this part of the Lord’s prayer, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’: that is, a moderate and reasonable sustenance; and yet their own hearts will testify that they need not so to pray, seeing they abound in all worldly solace and felicity. I mean not that rich men should not pray this pray of the Lord’s prayer, but I would they understood what they ought to pray in it, and that they ask nothing whereof they fell not themselves marvelously indigent and needy. For unless we call in verity, he shall not grant; and except we speak with our whole heart, we shall not find him.”
In other words, why would God answer the prayers of those who are well supplied in the things of this world when they offer before Him a thoughtless prayer for daily bread? It is not that we shouldn’t pray for our daily bread, but that we should learn what it is we truly need, and seek after that with our whole heart.
So the question is, what is your daily bread? What is it you need, that only God can provide?
For some, it may well be provision for the very essentials of sustenance: food, water, shelter, work, peace, etc…
For others, they should give thanks that God has provided these things in abundance, but should still seek from God the eternal blessings from His throne; faith, assurance, growth in grace and sanctification, etc…
What immediately came to mind for me is this: I need more of Christ.
I need Him to be more glorious to me than all the shiny and tempting things of this world. I need a vision of His glory, His goodness, His truth. I need more of Christ, in my preaching, in my praying, in my speaking, in my everything. I need more of Christ at the very center of my being.
This is my daily bread. May I seek Him in sincerity and faithfulness, and may God be pleased to answer this prayer.