Reflections on Prayer - June
Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread.”
By Lisa Espinoza
This little verse packs quite a punch. At first glance, it appears Jesus is simply teaching us to ask each day for the food that will nourish and sustain our bodies. That’s just scratching the surface. This verse is about dependence. It’s about acknowledging that everything we need to sustain us—spiritually and physically— comes from the hand of God. “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” James 1:17
This month we focus on placing ourselves daily before our heavenly Father in a position of utter dependence. Begin each day with this statement, “Lord Jesus, I trust that everything I need today is in you.”
Read John 6:35
In a day when bread was considered a basic means of physical sustenance, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” He wanted them, and us, to see beyond the physical and to recognize our deeper need…the need for healing in our souls. Jesus has provided everything we need, not only to sustain our lives, but also to bring us abundant life—salvation, hope, grace, mercy, peace, strength, joy. What kind of bread do you need today? Each day this week, write a prayer beginning with, “Jesus, you are my bread of life. Please sustain me today with your ________________________.”
Read Matthew 6:26-29
Little did Jesus know His teaching, at least on some level, would resound in the modern anti-anxiety anthem, “Don’t worry…be happy.” Jesus basically says, “What good does worrying do you? Look at these birds and flowers—they’re completely dependent on me for what they need, and look at how well they’re doing.” This week let every bird and every flower you see be a cue to remember Jesus’ teaching on worry. Recognize any anxious thoughts that are trying to camp out in your head and picture yourself handing them over to God.
Read Philippians 4:6
Did you know that doctors often recommend keeping a “gratitude journal” for their patients struggling with anxiety? It’s difficult to dwell on your worries when you are counting your blessings. Each night this week, make a list of everything that day for which you are thankful. Recount even the smallest details with gratitude—the refreshing iced tea at lunch, the call from an old friend, or the pair of shoes you’ve been wanting—that went on CLEARANCE! You will be amazed at how your “gratitude journal” opens your eyes to the many ways God meets you and provides for you throughout your week.
Jesus could have taught us to pray, “Give us everything we need for the next year.” Instead, He has chosen this day, this moment, to pour His grace upon our lives. He wants us to live today, not waste our moments fretting about how we will live tomorrow. This week, practice being in the present moment. When you are having quiet time with the Lord, spending time with friends or family, or even sitting down to lunch alone, be there. Resist the temptation to rethink the past, plan the future, or worry about what you “should” be doing. Allow God to meet you right where you are—in the present moment.