Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 4 of the Lord’s Prayer Series “Give Us Today Our Daily Bread” (LISTEN HERE).
Daily bread includes everything that we need for our bodily welfare, such as food and drink, clothing and shoes, house and home, fields and flocks, money and goods, a godly family, good workers, good government, honest leaders, good citizens good weather, peace and order, health, a good name, loyal friends and good neighbors. (Martin Luther – Explanation to Fourth Petition)
This short petition, while it focuses on food, is right to understand that we are praying for God to provide all that we need for a given day in our life. The list that Martin Luther pens captures an extensive list.
Have you ever paused long enough in a day to realize all the things with which you interact in a given day?
You would probably come up with a list similar to the one above.
What items in this list are skipped in your prayer life?
As I am writing this, the grouping of items that stood out to me that I do not always think about as I pray this petition are the items related to the government under which we live. “Good government, honest leaders, good citizens, peace and order.”
I have started reading “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine and find it interesting in his writing that government is a result of individuals not able to self-govern and live at peace with each other, i.e. a result of sin. Here’s a quote:
Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him, out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.
So understanding the temptations of those in power to use that power in a way that is personally beneficial but not beneficial to society, it is truly appropriate as the Apostle Paul encourages to pray for our governing officials.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
When we pray “Give us today our daily bread,” pause to also pray for our governing officials national, state and local that they might selflessly serve to allow the ability to peacefully gather and enjoy our daily bread.
Apply: We often think most of our national government. Take a moment today to find the name of your mayor, council person, chief of police and fire. Pray for them too!
Prayer: Lord, guide and direct all who serve in a government setting to seek your wisdom and direction as they serve the people they oversee. AMEN.