January 20, 2017
“…Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
A word that has been on the minds and lips of millions this week is “inauguration.” A synonym for this word is “beginning.” The common usage for inauguration is something like “a celebration of the beginning.”
Every day we live is the first day of the rest of our lives. There is a sense in which we experience an inauguration with every new day, week, month and New Year we live. Our Lord’s advice to us is to celebrate the beginning of every new day and accept it as a gift – a clean slate with no marks on it.
We cannot change the marks we put on the slate of yesterday. God told us not to worry about tomorrow because one day’s trouble is enough for one day. If you think about it, today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. God therefore emphasized one day at a time – as in “Give us this day our daily bread.”
I challenge you to celebrate each new day with a private inauguration ceremony and ask God to give you the grace and strength to be all you can be for God’s glory, one day at a time.
Dick Woodward, 23 January 2009
January 4, 2017
“Give us this day our daily bread…” (Matthew 6:11)
The Lord is using the symbol of bread here to represent all our needs. We are a veritable ‘internet” of needs. Our needs are physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. This first personal petition should not be limited to our need for food, but for all the needs we have as creatures of God.
Observe that the concept ‘one day at a time’ is repeated twice in this petition of seven words. Alcoholics and drug addicts with years of sobriety tell me that when they took their first step, they could not even entertain the thought of being sober for more than one day. This prayer of Jesus prescribes that we pray ‘this day’ and ‘daily’ when we present our creature needs to our Heavenly Father. Observe how Jesus concludes His great teaching about values with the same emphasis later in Matthew 6: “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34, Living Bible)
We read in the book of Numbers that when God miraculously provided bread from Heaven in the wilderness, the Israelites were only permitted to collect enough manna for one day. That story, recorded in Numbers 11, is also applicable to the one-day-at-a-time principle Jesus prescribes in the prayer He taught us to pray.
When we apply the story of that great miracle to our daily devotions, we should make the application that we cannot hoard our experience of a word from God, or the blessings of a time in the presence of God. We must have our souls and spirits nourished with heavenly manna every day, one day at a time.
Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Prayer
July 1, 2014
“Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven...” Matthew 6:9-13)
The message of the Bible frequently sifts down to just two words: God first. From Genesis to Revelation, the bottom line interpretation and application of the commandments, character studies, allegories, parables, psalms, sermons, Gospels, Epistles and teachings of Jesus is simply “God first.” The prayer Jesus taught us begins with that God-first emphasis when He instructs us to begin by asking God that His name, the essence of Who and what He is, might be honored and reverenced…
Prayer is not a matter of us persuading God to do our will. The very essence of prayer is an alignment between our wills and the will of God. Prayer is not a matter of us making God our partner and taking God into our plans. Prayer is a matter of God making us His partners and taking us into His plans…
We are not to come into our prayer closets, or corporate worship, with a ‘shopping list’ and send God on errands for us. When we pray, we should come into the presence of God with a blank sheet of paper and ask God to send us on errands for Him. We should be like soldiers reporting for duty to their Commander in Chief.
Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Prayer
September 7, 2013
“My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” (Psalm 5:3)
In one sentence in this beautiful psalm David twice emphasizes the reality that he will pray to his God in the morning. There are three directions of life we must master. We must learn to look up. We must learn to look in until our Lord shows us things we need to know about ourselves. Only then are we prepared to look around in all our relationships.
Anytime we are having difficulty in our relationships with spouses, children, parents or those who are outside the home we should always ask ourselves if we have looked up and looked in sincerely. Knowing ourselves as God wants us to know ourselves is crucial preparation for relating to others.
Smart people are very often right and so they sometimes think they are always right. It is very difficult to live with those who think they are always right. In the same way it is difficult to relate to those who think they never sin. When God helps us look in and see ourselves as He sees us it gives us a humility that is a tool we need to face our relationships.
What would you think of a concert violinist who plays a beautiful concerto solo and then instead of an encore comes out and tunes her violin? In the same way we should not play the concert of our day and then tune the instrument of our lives.
We should begin ‘in the morning’ tuning our lives through our prayers to God as the Psalmist directs us, so that we can look up, look in and then look around.