After instructing His disciples to pray “Father, hallowed be Your name”, He tells them to pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.” In this section we shall learn about Prayers of Dependence. Let’s take a closer look at this prayer.
Your Kingdom Come
By saying “Your kingdom come”, Jesus directs His followers to God’s kingdom instead of their own kingdom. He does this in order to instruct His disciples to live in submission to the kingdom of God rather than setting themselves up as ruler of their own. A person may bristle at the notion of submission because it conjures up images of slavery and bondage and not getting one’s own way; but submitting to God leads to freedom. A person may refuse to believe that submission to God leads to freedom but consider the alternative for a moment.
My Kingdom vs. God’s Kingdom
Many people refuse to submit to God and attempt to do everything on their own. They, by not submitting to God’s kingdom, seek to establish their own kingdom and be their own savior. Their time, talents, and treasure are expended in the expansion of their own kingdom and they fight to maintain their kingdom. They have to fix and solve every problem they encounter in their own strength and power. They soon realize that there are situations beyond their own strength and become exhausted and despondent at their inability. They might try to enlist someone else to help, but soon grow weary because their help is more interested in building their own kingdom. Bitterness, resentment, and despair soon become an ever present reality.
But suppose a person prays this prayer of Jesus and says to God, “Your kingdom come.” This prayer is born out of a realization that trying to build their kingdom is a fool’s errand and they submit themselves to God in order to become a servant in His kingdom. When a person submits to God and His kingdom, he experiences the freedom that comes with being under His rule. He will fight with God’s unending strength knowing that “they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Burdens and pressures would be lessened because “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1). The burden of trying to save yourself would disappear because you know you are unable, but Christ “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25). By submitting to His rule and being a servant in His kingdom; self-centeredness, self-obsession, self-fulfillment, coveting, grudges, and pride are not permitted because “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24; See also Eph 5). It should be unthinkable for a Christian to hold a grudge because they have experienced and understand the power of forgiveness. Submission to God’s kingdom brings freedom.
Your Will be Done
Jesus focuses us on God’s kingdom and calls us to submit to His rule. When Jesus tells us to pray that God’s kingdom would come, He is reminding us to anticipate its coming. We want God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven. We are in an “already but not yet” aspect of God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom is among us (Luke 17:21) but not in its fullness. Hebrews 2:8 tells us that “at present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him” but we know that there is coming a day when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10-11). When we pray for His kingdom to come, look forward to the day when God’s rule is complete and all enemies are subdued. Like the prayer of praise that cries out for the coming day when His name is no longer blasphemed, the prayer of submission cries out for the coming day when God’s kingdom is reigning without any enemies. Next, Jesus said to pray “Give us each day our daily bread”.
When Jesus tells His followers to pray “Give us each day our daily bread”, He is not telling them to selfishly demand things, but rather calling them to a life of radical dependence. In 1 Corinthians 4:7 Paul writes: “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”
Jesus calls us to acknowledge our dependence on God because everything we have has been received from Him. For example, did you create yourself? Did you determine where you would be born? Did you determine who your parents were and who would and would not be your siblings? The obvious answer is “No”. But one may object, “I agree that I had no control over those things but I have made myself who I am today.” The Biblical answer (as we saw in 1 Cor 4:7) is that while you played a very important role in your life, ultimately it was God who gave you all you have.
Jesus not only calls us to acknowledge our dependence on God but to embrace our dependence on Him because that brings peace, joy and freedom. We saw last week that submitting to God brings freedom and likewise embracing your dependence on God brings freedom. Embracing your dependence on God and loving Him allows you to always have a reason to rejoice because the Lord is the source of your joy. Philippians 4:4 says “rejoice in the Lord always.”
Depending on God allows you the freedom to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7). These promises are only for those who embrace their dependence on God and know that everything they have and everything they need comes from God.
When we embrace our dependence on God we become aware that He watches over us, is aware of us, and He wants us to come to Him each day. Just as a good and faithful father cares enough about his children to help them, provide for them, and love them everyday; God, our Father, wants to provide for us every day. God doesn’t want weekly check-ins, He doesn’t want quarterly reports, but He wants us to trust and depend on Him every day.
Our Daily Bread
Jesus tells his followers to pray that the Father would give them each day their daily bread. What is daily bread? In a literal sense, it is bread that will satisfy for one day. Metaphorically, it speaks of God’s design for meeting our basic needs day by day. Jesus does not tell us to come to God at the first of the month to receive our monthly bread, but tells us to come each day for our daily bread. This highlights an important point: God gives us each day our daily bread to remind us to live in the present. God does not want us to live in the past and pine for the “good ole’ days” nor does He wants us to live in the uncertain dreams (or nightmares!) of the future. The past is over and gone and the future is not yet. Jesus tells us to live today and come to God for today’s needs, today’s grace, today’s joy, and today’s peace. The thoughts of “if only I had” and “what if” must be exchanged in prayer with “Give me each day my daily bread”.
Jesus, in response to being asked how to pray, graciously tells His disciples to pray “Give us each day our daily bread”. Jesus wants His followers to daily acknowledge and embrace their need to depend on God to meet each day’s needs. If your life does not demonstrate a daily dependence on God’s grace, come to Jesus in repentance and faith. He always hears the prayer of faith and delights in answering it. Trust Him daily. If your life does demonstrate a daily dependence on God’s grace, continue on in faith and “be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).