Here Is A Prayer For Everyday
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:13
When Howard Rutledge was shot down over Vietnam, he prayed for the first time in 20 years, but, believe me, it didn’t take another 20 years for Rutledge to try prayer. He started praying and praying hard. “When one is dying from starvation,” he later wrote of his ordeal, “a bowl of sewer greens is a gift from God. Before every meal during my captivity,” he said, “I offered a prayer of thanks.”
When Jesus responded to the request of the disciples, to teach them to pray, one of the things which Jesus said we should pray for is: “Our daily bread.”
Is God really concerned with such mundane things as our daily needs? Nothing is more basic to survival for most people of the world than bread or rice. The vast majority of people in our world are just one meal away from hunger, and that buffer is “our daily bread,” or “the bowl of rice” which drives away the gnawing pain of an empty stomach. Our daily bread is a powerful need, and when we pray for our daily bread, God is coming into direct proximity with the fundamental needs of our existence–food, shelter and clothing.
In teaching the disciples to pray in this way, we are made to understand that the basic necessities of life are not a matter of indifference to our Heavenly Father, but a matter of gravest concern. If God is so concerned, why doesn’t He just automatically give us everything we need? Good question! But part of the reason is so that we can know the answer has come from His hand. Immediately before Jesus gave the disciples this prayer, He said, “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8), yet Jesus also said, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24).
Then Jesus taught us that we are to address the issue of seeking and giving forgiveness. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” The English Book of Common Prayer uses the word trespasses, but a comparison with the rendering of the same prayer in Luke makes it clear that we are asking God’s forgiveness for violating His Word, and that means we are asking forgiveness for sins we have committed.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” or put another way, we can pray, “Lead us not into deep trial, but deliver us from the Evil One.” Here Jesus is saying we are to pray that we will not be overwhelmed by trials which would destroy us, but rather that we would be delivered from the Evil One.
And finally, we have the words, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever, Amen!” Many Bibles, however, find those words in the margin, with a footnote saying that these words are not found in the best manuscripts.
Well, should we include those beautiful words which seem to spiral upward into the very presence of the throne room of God? Did Jesus say them? Probably not, but did He expect the disciples to pray them? Probably so. And how is that?–you may be thinking. The final phrase, beginning with the words, “For thine is the kingdom…” was the doxology or the ending of all Jewish prayers, and I, for one, have always felt that Jesus understood the disciples would add those as devout sons of Abraham.
“Thine is the kingdom…thine is the power…thine is the glory, forever and ever.” What a prayer! Don’t wait until you find yourself in great trouble to learn to pray. Begin today with those simple words, “Our Father in heaven,” and pour out your heart. That’s what prayer is about.
Resource reading: James 5:13-16