John Wesley on Prayer Lesson 3

*Praying for daily bread: food and grace

“Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11, NIV

The second portion of this prayer consists of six petitions, four of which we here consider. “Hallowed be Thy name”—may You, O father, be truly known by all intelligent beings and with affections suitable to that knowledge! May You be duly honored, loved, feared, by all in heaven and in earth, by all angels and all men!

“They kingdom come”—may Your kingdom come quickly and swallow up all the kingdoms of the earth! May all people receive You, O Christ, for their King and truly believe in Your name. May they be filled with righteousness, peace, joy, holiness, and happiness till they are removed into Your kingdom of glory to reign with You forever.

“They will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”—may all inhabitants of the earth do Your will as willingly as the holy angels! May these do it continually even as they, without any interruption of their willing service. And, as perfectly as they! O Spirit of grace, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make them perfect in every good work to do Your will, and work in them all that is well pleasing in Your sight!

“Give us”—O Father, (for we claim nothing of right: only of Your free mercy) “today” (for we take no thought for tomorrow) “our daily bread”—all things needful for our souls and bodies, not only the meat that perishes, but the sacramental bread, and Your grace, the food which endures to everlasting life.

*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.

Moving into Lesson 3, Wesley centers on four of the six petitions in the Lord’s prayer. He begins with, “Hallowed be Thy name.” How can we hallow, or ascribe holiness to, a name without knowing the personality who holds that name? I must know God in order that His name is hallowed in my life. Wesley says, “…may You, O father, be truly known by all intelligent beings and with affections suitable to that knowledge!” Our affections should be authentic, based on our knowledge of God and the hallowing of His person.

“They kingdom come.” A kingdom is a realm of influence. I believe Wesley is right in asking, “…may Your kingdom come quickly and swallow up all the kingdoms of the earth!” There is a temporal and eternal aspect to that swallowing up. When Jesus returns, there will be an eternal swallowing up of all things. In Colossians 1:19-20, Paul tells us, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” The temporal swallowing up of the earth’s kingdoms is Godly influence by God’s people, in the power of the Holy Spirit, upon mountains, or centers of culture, that tend, in ever increasing ways, to inform our society.  These include the mountains of religion, family, education, government, media, arts, & business.

“They will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” In heaven there is submission to God’s will. Not a passive disinterest in what God is doing, but a willful cooperation with what God is doing. We need to enter into that willful cooperation with God while here on earth in order to receive God’s best for us this side of heaven. We need to be discerning of what God is doing so we can begin to pray with God concerning His will rather than only praying to God. If we expect heaven to meet earth, we must comprehend that the primary means of meeting happens in us, as God’s people.

“Give us today our daily bread.” There is a tendency in most people to view daily bread as needs in the natural realm. And yes, it does include these needs. But Jesus told some that were following Him in John 6:26-27, “… “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”  The important bread is Jesus, Himself, as He explains a few verses later in John 6:33-35; “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, ” I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”  

Published by doctorpaddy

An ordained minister, Christian communicator, and educator.

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