“Am I allowed to pray for myself?” This was a sincere question I received from a friend one time. I understood his desire was not to be selfish in his prayer life before God. With a hint of sarcasm, I told him, “You better pray for yourself. Because if you don’t, there is a good chance that no one else is.”
I assured him it was more than appropriate for him to take his needs before the Lord. Again, we can go back to the Lord’s Prayer and look at the petition, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Here Jesus is giving us permission to present our requests before the lord. As I have said in the past couple of weeks, the Lord’s Prayer is not meant to be just a memorized prayer that we rattle off from our lips without any thought. Jesus was giving us a model of how to pray, and what kind of things we should pray about when he recited this prayer.
Notice that our needs do not top the list — “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…” Before we seek God for our daily bread, we are encouraged to praise and hallow his name. We also must then seek his kingdom in, around, and through our lives. God’s kingdom is his reign. Then we ask for his will to be done as we surrender our will and desires to him.
Having done this, we are really ready to bring our needs before God. The beauty about the pattern in this prayer is how it helps cut through our selfishness. It brings you to points of worship and surrender before exploring your own needs before God. Please hear me in this. God wants us to fully be comfortable in expressing our needs and desires before him; however, prayer should be much more than just presenting our shopping list to God. The Lord’s Prayer helps truly remind us of who God is, and who we are in light of who he is.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” This is now Jesus’ invitation for us to present our personal requests and those of our friends and loved ones before the Lord. This request for bread is not to be taken literally as request for a piece of rye or pumpernickel. Bread here is symbolic of the needs of God’s children in every way — physically, financially, spiritually, and emotionally.
Do you need a job? Are you looking for a new house or place to live? Ask the Lord for his provision. He promises to supply for all of our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). God doesn’t like a greedy heart, but he is truly honored when his children humbly seek Him to provide and meet their needs. Are you sick? Seek the Lord and ask for his healing hand. Are you seeking the right partner for marriage? Ask the Lord to bring you the right person.
In closing, notice that Jesus taught us to pray for our “daily bread.” This means we are supposed to come before the Lord on a consistent basis. We are not invited to pray for the weekly bread, the monthly bread, or the yearly bread. We are to seek him each day and believe him to provide his grace one day at a time in our lives. We cannot expect tomorrow’s grace and tomorrow’s answers today. Learn to trust him for today’s needs. And trust that he is more than able to meet tomorrow’s needs tomorrow. He can meet next week’s need, next week. Yes, this prayer involves not only surrender, but trust. We must learn to trust the Lord each day for our daily bread — one day at a time. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is
pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at