The past two posts we have looked at those petitions in the Lord’s Prayer that have to do with the things of God: “May your name be made holy. May your kingdom come. May your will be done.” The Lord’s Prayer now attends to personal matters.
We may be tempted to think God is above our seemingly petty problems. “He who created and governs the cosmos, why trouble him with my worries, doubts, and needs?” one might argue. Yet, we need to balance our view of God’s preeminence with his nearness. The God who created the universe created you and me. The Lord Almighty is also our Heavenly Father. He heard the cries of the Israelites, while they were in slavery in Egypt, and sent Moses to deliver them from Pharaoh’s hand. He provided them with mana, quail, and water in the dry and weary wilderness. Was not Jesus’s heart moved when he met a widow whose son recently died? Was Jesus not moved with compassion when friends carried on a mat their paralyzed friend to Jesus? Did he not save a newly-wed couple from public shame by providing very good wine when their wedding wine went dry? Did he not touch lepers, heal the sick, weep at the death of his friend Lazarus, and enter this world through the squalor of a stable to show us that God is indeed near and cares deeply about the affairs of humankind? With the words, “May you give us this day our needed bread (Matthew 6:11),” we are telling our Heavenly Father that we trust him with our needs and know that he is as close as the words that leaves our lips.
Another reason we may be tempted to withhold expressing our needs to God is his omniscience. “Certainly, God already knows my needs, so what’s the point of telling him what he already knows?” one might argue. Prayer is often more for us than for God. As we come to God with our needs, we learn more and more to trust him with those needs and worry less over them. Also, it may well be that our asking and God’s bestowing are fatefully linked to his divine activity in our lives and on this earth. Prayer invites us to participate in his redeeming a fallen world. Prayer is trusting that we can trust God with our needs. Take a few minutes today to offer up your needs to God.