In this article we continue working our way through the gospel of Luke and specifically the Lord's Prayer found in Luke 11:1-4. We come today to the third verse in Luke's version of our Lord's Prayer. We'll concentrate on it. We've seen already several things.

One, we saw that the answer to the question, "How do I learn to know how to pray?" is I go to the Bible. And then, once we've gotten to the Bible, we learned that we are to pray the Bible back to God.

We also said last week as we looked at the phrase, "Your kingdom come," that biblical prayer is going to be God-centered, not ultimately self-centered. Yes, as we're going to see today, it is always appropriate to take our temporal concerns to the Lord. He encourages that. There are numerous biblical examples of the Lord encouraging us to take our temporal needs and situations and circumstances and concerns to Him and ask Him to intervene. He instructs us to do that by His Word, but that still doesn't mean that prayer is self-centered. It's always God-centered. So the movement is from a focus on God, His name, His glory, His rule, His will, to our needs, so that God is first and we are second so that the Creator is first and the creature is in second place. So there's a logic to the order.

But now we are given real help in how we are to pray for temporal things. In fact, I want to suggest to you that just in the phrase, "Give us each day our daily bread," He teaches us six things that help us to know better how to pray for ourselves.

I. The Lord Himself Is The Gracious Provider Of All That We Have And All That We Need

When we pray, "Give us each day our daily bread," we acknowledge that the Lord Himself is the gracious Provider of all that we have and all that we need. Now, our daily bread refers to all of the outward provisions for our daily sustenance. This petition reminds us of our utter dependence on the Lord for everything.

This is not an abdication of the responsibility of work that is going on here, but it is an acknowledgment of our utter dependence upon the Lord. We may work and we may work hard and we may work appropriately, but even when we do [work] it is the Lord who gives. If all that we have is the gift of God, then we should be constantly in prayer for that provision and we should be aware of our dependence upon Him. Let's pray.

Our Lord, we pray this day that You would give us each the bread that we need, the food of our sustenance, the material benefits in order to live this life and to care for our families and to serve this community and to serve You well. We recognize that no matter how hard we work, that no matter how competent we are in our vocations, that everything that we have and require ultimately comes from You, and so we pause right now and acknowledge that no matter how much we have it all comes from You. And we are completely dependent on You. So teach us our dependence even as we pray for Your supply, in Jesus' name. Amen.

II. We Are To Be Humble And Remember That We Are Not Self-sufficient

Now this prayer, properly prayed, not only indicates our dependence on God, it also cultivates humility. We live in an affluent society and all of us in this room, no matter how poor we may think of ourselves, we are all affluent in comparison to others in our culture, in comparison to people around the world, in comparison to people in history. And affluence tempts us to pride and to self-sufficiency and this prayer corrects that pride and that self-sufficiency. Do you remember what Charles Spurgeon said? He said, "There's no trial like prosperity. There's no trial life affluence."

Why? Because you're tempted to think that you don't need to depend on God and you're tempted to think more highly of yourself, because you're self-sufficient, than you ought to. Well, this prayer humbles you because if everything that we have is the gift of God, then we have to be careful not to take credit for what He has given to us in His grace. And so properly prayed, this prayer is a prayer that cultivates humility.

Let's pray together using the Lord's Prayer and ask for God to cultivate humility in us.

Our Heavenly Father, as we pray to You to give us each day our daily bread we are acknowledging that everything that we have is a gift from You. Our talents come from You. Our wealth comes from You. Our ability to earn money comes from You. The material possessions that we have come from You and we do not take credit for what You have given to us in Your generosity. Even if we have worked hard and we are tempted to look at others and say, "The reason we have been blessed is because we're smarter or we work harder or we're more faithful than others," we recognize that ultimately everything we have comes from You. So we humble ourselves before You and say, "Lord, apart from You we are nothing. And there is nothing that we have in our hands that has not come from Your hands, so teach us the humility that we ought to have as we think about our temporal blessings, in Jesus' name. Amen.

III. We Are To Remember The Needs Of Others As We Pray

But this prayer also teaches us generosity, doesn't it? Notice how Jesus tells us to pray. He doesn't say, "Give me," it's "Give us." There's a recognition that it's not just our need, we're not the center of the universe. There are other people that need that blessing as well - our families, fellow members of the congregation, brothers and sisters in Christ, and others who are in need. And so this prayer teaches us, as opposed to self-centeredness, a certain generosity in our prayer, that we need to pray for the needs of others. So let's turn this prayer into the needs of others. Let's pray.

O Lord, we do not only pray for daily bread for ourselves, but for others also, so we ask this morning, especially for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in this congregation who have been deeply affected by the any economic downturn, that You would provide for them. Some of our brothers and sisters have lost jobs; provide work. Some of our brothers and sisters have lost money in investments and we pray that You would restore that to them that they might steward it for Your glory. But Heavenly Father we also pray for the even less fortunate among us. We ask that You would satisfy the poor with bread. We pray that all who walk righteously and speak uprightly will be given, by that Rock of salvation, bread and that their waters would be sure and that they would be supplied of all their needs, in Jesus' name. Amen.

In next week's article we will look at the final three things this petition teaches us about how to pray for ourselves.