Fervent Prayer: Providence - God’s Provision
We can read, study and research a lot about God’s provision. We can reflect looking back in our own lives or the lives of others how God’s provision has been made visible. However, it’s often much more difficult to trust, to live out today, knowing God is our provider. He’s our provider today as much as he was yesterday. This is difficult.
I’d challenge us to reflect on God’s provision today through prayer and scripture. To help us to reflect on this, I’d ask we start with Matthew 9:11: “Give us this day our daily bread…” there can be so much in this one verse we could reflect on.
Known to be someone that prayed often, every day, Martin Luther was once asked for advice on how to pray. So in true Martin Luther fashion, he wrote a letter to help provide guidance. I’d encourage you to read that letter. Today, I’d like us to reflect on his response to verse 11 of the Lord’s Prayer below.
The fourth petition. "Give us this day our daily bread." Say: "Dear Lord, God and Father, grant us thy blessing also in this temporal and physical life. Graciously grant us blessed peace. Protect us against war and disorder. Grant to our dear emperor fortune and success against his enemies. Grant him wisdom and understanding to rule over his earthly kingdom in peace and prosperity. Grant to all kings, princes, and rulers good counsel and the will to preserve their domains and their subjects in tranquility and justice. Especially aid and guide our dear prince N., under whose protection and shelter thou dost maintain us, so that he may be protected against all harm and reign blessedly, secure from evil tongues and disloyal people. Grant to all his subjects grace to serve him loyally and obediently. Grant to every estate-townsman or farmer-to be diligent and to display charity and loyalty toward each other. Give us favorable weather and good harvest. I commend to thee my house and property, wife and child. Grant that I may manage them well, supporting and educating them as a Christian should. Defend us against the Destroyer and all his wicked angels who would do us harm and mischief in this life. Amen."
Here is an excerpt from Martin Luther in his letter “A Simple Way To Pray:”
The nature of God’s provision is well reflected in Luther’s letter. Several elements that stand out when reflecting on God’s provision are:
God’s blessed peace.
Wisdom and understanding to rule, notice it’s not about looking for prosperity; but rather managing what we have.
The grace to serve.
The ability to display charity and loyalty to each other.
Wisdom to manage our household well and protection against the enemy.
These are just a few. All of which, seem reflective of God’s characteristics as it relates to his provision. Very countercultural to how we see provision today. The intention of asking God to give us our daily bread ultimately can be viewed as follows:
A declaration that he is our provider and not us.
A reflection that this isn’t just about us, but rather asking he provide so we in turn can provide for others.
Hopefully today, you too can reflect on what God’s provision means for you. What’s our understanding of the intention of this declaration? Is it simply to be comfortable today? Or is there more we should be considering?