Sunday (July 24): "Give us each day our daily bread"
Scripture: Luke 11:1-131 He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." 2 And he said to them, "When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread; 4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation."
God treats us as his own sons and daughters
What does Jesus' prayer tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father in being the Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and he is eternally Father by his relationship to his only begotten Son who, reciprocally is Son only in relation to his Father (Matthew 11:27). All fatherhood and motherhood is derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15). In the Lord Jesus Christ we are spiritually reborn and made new, and we become the adopted children of God (John 1:12-13; 3:3).
We can approach God confidently as a Father
who loves us
Jesus teaches us to address God as "our Father" and to confidently ask him for the things we need to live as his sons and daughters. We can approach God our Father with confidence and boldness because Jesus Christ has opened the way to heaven for us through his atoning death and resurrection. When we ask God for help, he fortunately does not give us what we deserve. Instead, he responds with grace (his favor and blessing) and mercy (pardon and healing). He is kind and forgiving towards us and he expects us to treat our neighbor the same.
We can pray with expectant faith and trust in the Father's
We can pray with expectant faith because our heavenly Father truly loves each one of us and and he treats us as his beloved sons and daughters. He delights to give us what is good. His love and grace transforms us and makes us like himself. Through his grace and power we can love and serve one another as Jesus taught - with mercy, pardon, and loving-kindness.
Do you treat others as they deserve, or do you treat them as the
Lord Jesus would with grace and mercy? Jesus' prayer includes a
petition that we must ask God to forgive us in proportion as we
forgive those who have wronged us (Matthew 6:14-15). God's grace
frees us from every form of anger, resentment, envy, and hatred.
Are you ready to forgive others as the Lord Jesus forgives you?
Jesus' parable of the importunate and bothersome neighbor shows a worst case scenario of what might happen when an unexpected guest shows up in the middle of the night! The family awakens, unbolts the locked door to receive the guest, then washes the guest's feet, and the wife begins to prepare a meal. When the wife discovers that she has no bread to set before the guest, she prevails on her husband to go and get bread from a nearby family, who by now is also asleep with their door bolted shut. In a small village it would be easy for the wife to know who had baked bread that day. Bread was essential for a meal because it served as a utensil for dipping and eating from the common dishes. Asking for bread from one's neighbor was both a common occurrence and an expected favor. To refuse to give bread would bring shame because it was a sign of inhospitality.
God's generosity towards us
If a neighbor can be imposed upon and coerced into giving bread in the middle of the night, will not God, our heavenly Father and provider, also treat us with kind and generous care no matter how troubling or inconvenient the circumstances might appear? Jesus states emphatically, How much more will the heavenly Father give! St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) reminds us that "God, who does not sleep and who awakens us from sleep that we may ask, gives much more graciously." The Lord Jesus assures us that we can bring our needs to our heavenly Father who is always ready to give not only what we need, but more than we can ask. God gives the best he has. He freely pours out the blessing of his Holy Spirit upon us so that we may be filled with the abundance of his provision. Do you approach your heavenly Father with confidence in his mercy and kindness towards you?
1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the angels I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted above everything your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me, my strength of soul you increased.
4 All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth;
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The privilege and responsibility of calling God Father, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
"For the Savior said, 'When you pray, say, 'Our Father.' And
another of the holy Evangelists adds, 'who art in heaven' (Matthew
6:9)... He gives his own glory to us. He raises slaves to the
dignity of freedom. He crowns the human condition with such honor
as surpasses the power of nature. He brings to pass what was
spoken of old by the voice of the psalmist: 'I said, you are gods,
and all of you children of the Most High' (Psalm 82:6). He rescues
us from the measure of slavery, giving us by his grace what we did
not possess by nature, and permits us to call God 'Father,' as
being admitted to the rank of sons. We received this, together
with all our other privileges, from him. One of these privileges
is the dignity of freedom, a gift peculiarly befitting those who
have been called to be sons. He commands us, therefore, to take
boldness and say in our prayers, 'Our Father.'" (excerpt
from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 71)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
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