Thursday, June 30, 2016

Petition Four: Daily Bread + more reflections on the first petition

WSC Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread, we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.

I said this in the first week that I started the petitions of the Lord's Prayer: When I pray, I normally dive right into the things I want for myself and for people that I love.  I certainly start with praise and thanksgiving, but that is quite brief compared to what Jesus teaches.

When we pray, he wants us to put our wants and needs in fourth place.  This is just behind our prayers to God to help us do his will on earth which is ahead of asking for his Kingdom to come on earth whether immediately or in progressive increments.  All of this is less important than our desiring that we keep God's name holy and that others do the same.

But in all of this, God does want us to come to him for things that we want and need.  We don't have to be completely selfless when we pray.  I am just so floored at God's generosity to us in granting this privilege. We can ask for things for ourselves and for those that we love.

I'm going to mention something about the first petition that just now dawned on me.  You know how Christians like myself offend people by commenting that things they post on facebook are offensive?  What if it's a dirty joke with crude words?  What if it's that overplayed "if you don't like x then don't do x" meme?  What if it's some liberal dribble about loving people and not judging (which I believe in, btw, but not in a way that excuses their sins or acts like everyone will go to heaven)?  What if I want people to stop posting such stuff not because I'm some prudish flat-earther who thinks all people should think like me, but because I'm genuinely concerned that they are dishonoring God's name?  You know that if Johnny constantly dishonors God's name by his words and actions that he is calling curses upon himself.  What more loving thing could I do than to simply ask that he examine himself and his beliefs to see if he is truly following God or if he is just trying to impress his friends as more important than God?  God could be using me to answer my own prayer that his name be hallowed.  God could be using me to save him from hell.

Please, people, always keep in mind Ephesians 4 which exhorts us to live worthy of our calling and professions as believers in Jesus and to not live as the nonbelievers do.

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