Introduction “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”

Introduction to “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”

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"Our Father Who Art In Heaven"

By Ron Christian

"This, then, is how you should pray:

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 7 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Give us today bread/or the coming day" (Matthew 6:12)

INTRODUCTION:

"In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life." (William Barclay)

PROPOSITION:

We will look at both the meaning and the application of this petition.

I. Meaning of the Petition.

II. Application of the Petition

A. Man Is Dependent Upon God

1. God provides for the Present.

2. God provides for the Future.

B. God Is Dependent Upon Man

1. Man must work for provisions.

2. Man must supply provisions.

CONCLUSION:

If all people are to be provided with the basic necessities of life, we must remember that man is not only dependent upon God, but that God is also dependent upon man.

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CHAPTER 7

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Give us today bread for the coming day" (Matthew 6:12)

INTRODUCTION:

Thus far we have studied that part of the Lord's Prayer which focuses attention upon God. The first three petitions of the Lord's Prayer are:

"Our Father in heaven let your name be held holy: 
Let your Kingdom Come; 
Let your will be done, as in heaven, so upon earth."

These three petitions all contain something about God: (1) God's love, (2) God's family, (3) God's power, (4) God's holiness, (5) God's Kingdom, and (6) God's will.

The last three petitions of the Lord's Prayer are:

"Give us today bread for the coming day; 
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; 
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One."

Says Barclay about the second part of the prayer: "The second part of the prayer, the part of it which deals with our needs and our necessities, is a marvelously wrought unity. It deals with the three essential needs of man, and the three spheres of time within which man moves. First, it asks for bread, thereby asking for that which is necessary for the maintenance of life, and thereby bringing the needs of the present to the throne of God. Second, it asks for forgiveness, thereby bringing the past into the presence of God, and of God's forgiving grace. Third, it asks for help in temptation, there by committing all the future into the hands of God. In these three brief petitions, we are taught to lay the present, the past, and the future, all before the footstool of the grace of God … But not only is this carefully wrought prayer a prayer which lays the whole of life in the presence of God; it is also a prayer which brings the whole of God to our lives. When we ask for bread to sustain our earthly lives, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Father, the Creator and the Sustainer of all life. When we ask for forgiveness, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer. When we ask for help for future temptation, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Strengthener, the Illuminator, the Guide and the Guardian of our way … ln the Lord's Prayer Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life." (Barclay's Matthew vol. 1; p. 199)

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PROPOSITION:

It is the first petition of the second half of The Lord's Prayer which we will look at and study today: "Give us today bread for the coming day." Let us first note the real meaning of the petition, and secondly, let us see what is necessary in order for this prayer to be answered. We will look at both the meaning and the application of this petition.

I. Meaning of the Petition

In Barclay's commentary on this passage, he has noted several explanations that have been given for this petition. "(1) The bread has been identified with the bread of the Lord's Supper. (2) The bread has been identified with the spiritual food of the Word of God. (3) The bread has been taken to stand for Jesus Himself." (Barclay's Matthew; p.21S) All of these explanations have their point of truth. However, it is not a spiritual explanation which is the best explanation for the meaning of this passage.

This petition is a simple petition that God will provide food for the coming day. The practical, obvious meaning is the best meaning. As Charles Allen once said "Why try to spiritualize this petition? After all, even a saint must eat. Even our very prayers would die on our lips if we did not have food to sustain our bodies. Jesus preached to the people, He healed the sick, He forgave their sins, and He also used his marvelous power to feed them real bread. Study our Lord's life. You will see He knew something about the everyday struggle to make ends' meet. He knew the meaning of the widow's two mites, what a disaster the loss a coin might be, wearing clothes which were patched. He knew about shopping in the grocery store to try to stretch a budget to feed the family. He talks about the housewife who must buy two birds which sold for a penny … In the gray dawn of the morning we see Him on the seashore, His disciples had been fishing all night. Now they were coming in, and the Lord was prepared for them. What did He prepare? A prayer meeting. They needed prayer. A majestic and overwhelming revelation of Himself? They had lost faith in Him. No, He prepared breakfast." (God's Psychiatry; p. 111)

To us affluent Americans, it might be harder for us to understand the urgency in this petition. We have so much but some have so little. It is probably only the man who has really been hungry who can truly understand this petition. Kagawa was such a man. A Japanese Christian man who had a great love for Japanese people, could sympathize with their hunger for he himself experienced hunger pangs. Writes one about Kagawa: "When Kagawa moved into the slums of Kobo he learned that hungry, cold and sick persons need religion in action as well as religion in words. As he shared his meager food allowance with three indigent friends he knew hunger. He, like the others, could not work nor think of much else than the gnawing pangs of hunger. Later, he said that it was then that he began to understand the Lord's Prayer, 'Give us this day our daily bread.' If you have food and know no hunger you can never understand the Lord's

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prayer." (Kagawa, Japanese Prophet; by J.M. Trout; pgs. 18, 19) Kagawa testifies to this when he writes: "The wolf of poverty unceasingly pursues me – I who am harassed by the devil of disease. All too well do I know the terribleness of the tug of this wolf's tusk. Hence I am over fleeing at breakneck speed. I cannot tell how far I will make good my escape, but, having somehow succeeded until now, it seems probable that in the future, too, flight will be possible. Come on, 0 Wolf of Poverty! Come on! I will keep just one step ahead in this furious flight … If God but grants me strength to keep just one step ahead in the flight, I shall continue my present course. When one is on one's mettle it is possible to keep very near to God. And since nearness to God is for me the greatest of all blessings, despite the frightfulness of this wolf, I will flee until I fall. As regards the far future, that is in God's hand. Here, blind as I am, though driven to bay by the wolf, with faith in God's guidance I will run through the dark to the uttermost of my strength. As long as I can make good my escape, my life will be victory-crowned." (Ibid; p. 23, 24)

Hunger is a very present reality everyday to many people in many countries. The traditional Chinese greeting is, "Have you eaten today?" Writes one person about the adverse conditions in Haiti: "In 90 percent of the houses the people suffer from some kind of disease, the most prevalent being tetanus and tuberculosis (also malaria). About 60 percent of the children die at an early age due to malnutrition. It is heartbreaking to see so many people thin, hungry, and dying of malnutrition, especially children going to bed crying with empty stomachs, without hope for the next day." Conditions in India are also very bad. Says Thomas Rayner, "I can hardly take a morsel of food without thinking, 'How can I eat my bread alone'? I know that 30 percent of India goes to bed every single night of the year without one grain of rice or other food in their stomachs."

When we consider the vast starvation in the world, it is tragic to know that in the United States it is now possible to buy low calorie diets for overweight dogs! How lacking in compassion we Americans are! As Franklin Field says, "Hardening of the heart ages people more quickly than hardening of the arteries." It may be that it is hard for us to understand the relevancy of this petition in the Lord's Prayer, simply because we are so fat with our affluence.

II. Application of the Petition.

What is necessary in order for this petition to be answered? When we pray 'Give us this day our daily bread', we should be reminded of two things: (a) Man is dependent upon God, (b) God is dependent upon man.

A. Man Is Dependent Upon God

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It is hard for us to realize that man is very dependent upon God for present and future provisions. In appreciating how this petition – 'Give us this day our daily bread' – is answered, we must realize that man is dependent upon God.

1. God provides for the Present.

It is common acknowledgement that we would never have bread if man had to depend upon his own technological achievement and scientific research. It is God alone who gives life to the seed, fertility to the ground, water for the soil, and sunshine for the plant. Man can analyze life, but only God can give life. Man can harvest the crop, but only God can grow the crop. Man is dependent upon God for his basic necessities. This petition – 'Give us this day our daily bread' – has been answered for us, is being answered for us, and will be answered for us, simply because the God of all life cares and provides for man.

"Back of the loaf is the snowy flour, 
And back of the flour the mill, 
And back of the mill is the wheat and the shower, 
And the sun and the Father's will."

(God's Psychiatry; p. 113)

If God can clothe the flowers of the field in garments of unparalleled beauty, and if He cares for the animals of all creation, how much more does he care for man, the crown of His Creation. God cares for the present needs of the animals; how much more does he care for and provide for the present needs of man. God has provided for the present needs of the world. As one said, "The problem of the world is not that there is not enough to go round; there is enough and to spare." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 220)

2. God provides for the Future.

When Jesus teaches us to pray for our 'daily' bread, He is teaching us to trust Him for the future. We are meant to live one day at a time and not to worry about the future. Said Jesus, "I tell you, therefore, do not worry about your life, about what you are to eat, or what you are to drink; and do not worry about your body, about what you are to wear … So, then, do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will worry about itself. Its own troubles are quite enough for the day." (Barclay's Matthew 6:25, Matthew 6:34) Says Barclay in comment to Jesus' teachings, "Jesus is not advocating a shiftless, thriftless, reckless, thoughtless,

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improvident, attitude to life; He is forbidding a care-worn, worried fear, which takes all the joy out of life." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 258)

God will provide for the future. We can rest assured in that. Many of our worries concerning the future are useless and needless. The story is told of a London doctor who "was paralyzed and bed-ridden, but almost outrageously cheerful, and his smile so brave and radiant that everyone forgot to be sorry for him. His children adored him, and when one of his boys was leaving the nest and starting forth upon life's adventure, Dr. Greatheart gave him good advice:" 'Johnny,' he said, 'the thing to do my lad, is to hold your own end up, and to do it like a gentleman, and please remember the biggest troubles you have got to face are those that never come.'" (Barclay's Matthew; p. 262)

We are to face the future by facing each day as it comes. God will provide for the day's needs. God gave Israel manna, one day at a time. The secret to facing the future is to trust God one day at a time.

If God cares for the animals of the field and air and supplies their daily needs, how much more will God supply the needs of our future. One Jewish Rabbi said, "I have never seen a stag as a dryer of figs, or a lion as a porter, or a fox as a merchant, yet they are all nourished without worry. If they, who are created to serve me, are nourished without worry, 'how much more ought I, who am created to serve my Maker, to be nourished without worry." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 260)

When we pray 'Give us this day our daily bread,' we are acknowledging our dependence upon God who provides for our present needs and also our future needs. However, in fully appreciating how this petition is answered, we must also realize that God is dependent upon man.

B. God Is Dependent Upon Man

1. Man must work for provisions.

It would be foolish to think that this prayer will be answered by man folding his arms and waiting for God to answer it. Prayer without human co-operation and work is useless and futile. God does not answer our prayers 'for' us, but God answers our prayers 'with' us. Divine power and human initiative join together to achieve results. God gives life to a seed, but it takes a man to plant the seed. God gives growth to the crop, but it takes a man to cultivate, irrigate, and to harvest the crop. Barclay cites a story to illustrate this. "There was a man who had an

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allotment; he had with great toil reclaimed a piece of ground, clearing away the stones, eradicating the rank growth of weeds enriching and feeding the ground, until it produced the loveliest flowers and vegetables. One evening he was showing a pious friend around his allotment. The pious friend said, 'It's wonderful what God can do with a bit of ground like this, isn't it?' 'Yes,' said the man who had put in such toil, 'but you should have seen this bit of ground when God had it to Himself!' God's bounty and man's toil must combine." (Barclay's Matthew, vol. 1; p. 220)

2. Man must supply provisions.

God has provided enough food for all of the world's inhabitants, but it takes men to distribute the food to the people of the world. Before this prayer can be answered for all people, there is need for more human cooperation. There is enough food for the whole world, but instead of it being distributed, much of it is being wasted. Says Barclay about this: "In America granaries overflow with corn; in Brazil they fire locomotives with blocks of surplus coffee. The problem is not the supply of life's essentials; it is the distribution of them. This prayer teaches us never to be selfish in our prayers. It is a prayer which we can help God to answer by giving to others who are less fortunate than we are. This prayer is not only a prayer that we may receive our daily bread; it is also a prayer that we may share our daily bread with others." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 220)

"If I have eaten my morsel alone" - 
The patriarch spoke in scorn; 
What would he think of the church, 
Were he shown Heathendom, hugh, forlorn, 
Godless, Christless, with soul unfed, 
While the Church's ailment is fullness of bread, 
Eating her morel alone?...

Ever of them who have largest dower 
Shall Heaven require the more; 
Ours is affluence, knowledge, power, 
Ocean from shore to shore; 
And East and West in our oars have said, 
"Give us; give us your living Bread"; 
Yet we eat our morsel alone.

"Freely, as ye have received, so give." 
He bade, who hath given us all;

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How shall the soul in us longer live, 
Deaf to their starving call, 
For Whom the Blood of the Lord was shed, 
And His Body broken to give them Bread, 
If we eat our morsel alone?"

(Alexander, Primate of Ireland; Compassion Quote; Taken)

Said A. J. Gordon, "I have long since ceased to pray, 'Lord Jesus, have compassion on a lost world'. I remember the day and hour when I seemed to hear the Lord rebuking me for making such a prayer. He seemed to say to me: 'I have had compassion upon a lost world. Now it is time for you to have compassion. I have given my heart. Now give your heart." Said Job, "If I have withheld the poor from their desire … or have eaten my morsel myself alone … lf I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering … then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone."

A humble Scottish woman had lived for many years on porridge that she might give to missions the cost of her comforts and luxuries. One day a friend gave her a coin to 'buy a chop,' he said. She looked at it awhile, and then said, 'I have got on very well on porridge so far, and I think I'll just stick to it.' And so the coin went for missions. The minister was telling this at a missionary breakfast, and a comfortable-looking woman got up and said, 'Well, I never have done without a chop for Christ's sake, and so I shall begin today to sacrifice by giving $1,000 to missions.' Others followed suit, and before that breakfast was over, $12,000 had been contributed to missions."

A noted philanthropist, John Howard, once said, "We must learn to give up our luxuries to supply the comforts of others, our comforts to supply their necessity, and even our necessities to supply their extremities."

God wants all people of every country to have bread and He has provided enough bread to feed all mouths in the world. It is up to us to distribute that bread. How can we distribute that bread? By giving money to missions.

CONCLUSION:

This petition – 'Give us this day our daily bread' – is a petition that must not be merely spiritualized. It is a simple request that God will provide the basic necessities of life.

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If all people are to be provided with the basic necessities of life, we must remember that man is not only dependent upon God, but that God is also dependent upon man. This petition means that we are to distribute what we have received in order that the less fortunate will be provided with daily bread.

"Love is the bread that feeds the multitudes; 
Love is the healing of the hospitals; 
Love is the light that breaks through prison doors; 
Love knows not rich, nor poor, nor good nor bad..."

(George Edward Woodberry)

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