“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread.” Luke 11:1-3 (NKJV)
Jesus tells us to pray for God to provide our daily needs. Most likely this is the part of prayer we are all the most familiar with and so I will spend the least amount of time on this. This is simply telling your Heavenly Father what your physical, spiritual, emotional and financial needs are. The Bible is pretty clear that God is able to provide for His children and that He wants to provide for His children. There are a few quick things I want to mention about this.
First put out of your mind any thought that praying for yourself and your needs is selfish. I’ve had people tell me before that they felt “greedy” asking God to provide for them. This wrong idea is fueled by a misunderstanding of God’s invitation to ask Him for our daily needs. If God invites us to pray about these things then God wants us to pray about these things. There is nothing that we or anyone else could do to make God give us this invitation. It is simply a loving Father inviting His children to let Him provide for them.
We also need to remember that in the book of James we are told that very often we don’t have something because we didn’t ask God for it (James 4:2). There is no telling how many blessings and other things we’ve missed out on simply because we didn’t ask God to provide them for us. Providing for our needs is one of the things that God delights in doing. The reason He delights in doing this is that when we see that God provides for our needs it leads us to worship Him, thank Him and love Him more. These are all things He wants.
We also have to reject the idea that we are bothering God with our trivial problems. This wrong idea is fueled by a misunderstanding of our Heavenly Father’s love and concern for His children. Peter tells us that we are to cast all our burdens on God because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Here is something that needs to be burned into your mind and heart. If it is something that you are worried about or care about, it is something that matters to your Heavenly Father. Our Heavenly Father cares about His children. He cares about everything in their lives. Since this is the case there is no such thing as something that is too trivial to take to Him and ask Him to help with.
One last thing is that by telling our Heavenly Father what we need we are expressing our dependence on Him. Matthew 6:8 tells us that our Heavenly Father knows what we need even before we ask Him. So God is aware of our physical, financial, emotional and spiritual needs before we mention them to Him. He is aware of our burdens and our concerns long before we ever mention them to Him. So why then do we need to tell Him these things? We tell Him these things because in doing so we are humbling ourselves to admit that we need Him. Pride, in any form, will always keep us away from God. Humble dependence on God will always draw us closer to God.
While prayer shouldn’t be made up of nothing but things we want God to do, there is nothing wrong with taking our needs and concerns to Him. In fact this is one of the major elements of prayer. When we don’t pray for our needs and concerns we are, in a way, depriving God of the opportunity to show us how much He cares about us and wants to be involved in our lives.
“…what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:9-11 (NKJV)