Sermon: What to Pray For
Scripture: Matthew 6:11
In this week’s lessons, after first praying for God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will, Jesus also taught us how to pray for things that pertain to our own interests.
Theme: Spiritual Necessities
We must not leave this request for our daily bread without pointing out that we need spiritual nourishment also. This is the third point. We need to feed spiritually on God.
Have you ever noticed that there is only one other place in the entire Bible where a request to “give us bread” is spoken? It is in the midst of Christ’s sermon on the spiritual bread recorded in John 6. Jesus had said to His hearers, “Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” And they had answered, “Lord, evermore give us this bread.” Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me will never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:32-35). The Jews were thinking of physical bread, no doubt, just as the woman of Samaria had been thinking of physical water. But Jesus turned them away from these physical things to Himself as the One who could satisfy the far greater hunger of the soul.
What does it mean to feed spiritually on the Lord Jesus Christ? It means quite simply that He is the source of all spiritual life and that we will grow spiritually only as we draw close to Him and learn about Him. Moreover, unless we do this we will inevitably be starved spiritually and feel spiritually hungry.
It is tragic that so many Christians will allow things to intrude between themselves and Jesus, and therefore go on being hungry. God says that this happened repeatedly during the Old Testament period, for the Bible says that the people of Israel desired things instead of Him. Consequently, He gave them things but sent leanness to their souls (Ps. 106:15). We do the same thing today. Thus, far too many believers find themselves like those described in one of our hymns—“rich in things, but poor in soul.” Have you known such leanness, such hunger? Perhaps you have filled yourself with all the means of satisfying your physical hunger, and yet you have not looked to God for spiritual feeding. You pray, “Give me my physical bread,” but you have never prayed, “Give me that spiritual bread that comes down from heaven,” How sad! All of our hungers are useful in themselves, of course, and they are right within their bounds. They have been put there by God who made us. We have a hunger for achievement, for love, for happiness. All these things are good in themselves when they are used as God intends them to be used. But it is tragic that many Christians will satisfy these hungers, or attempt to satisfy them, at the expense of spending much necessary and truly satisfying time with God. God wants us to seek spiritual blessings also, and He will provide them as we feed spiritually upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the point Jesus is making in John 6 about the idea of bread?
Explain what it means to feed spiritually on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection: Are there any things you are feeding on that are making you spiritually hungry because they do not satisfy your soul?
For Further Study: Download for free and listen to Philip Ryken’s message, “When You Pray.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)