When Jesus asks for daily bread, he is calling for his people to a daily dependence on God for their daily needs. God’s people are to daily ask for provision; daily ask forgiveness of sin; daily ask protection from temptation and the evil one. Jesus is teaching his people to daily depend on God for their needs which primarily include their holiness. Jesus is calling his people to do their daily homework of grace, not just pass the exam of conversion.
For nearly ten years now I have kept a prayer journal. My prayers are not organized like some people’s. Rather, my prayers are very disorganized. Only the dates at the top right corner of each page give me any context to previous prayers. It is in large part due to my general disorganization that I tend to write out my prayers. Writing forces thoughts into shapes.
Toward the beginning of each year, I often flip through my prayers from the past and reflect on the Spirit’s ever sanctifying work on my soul. This year, as I was doing so, I noticed a troubling trend. I found repeated phrases such as, “God, keep me from ever,” “God, grant me grace again for,” or “God, I am still struggling to…”. I would repeatedly pray in these generalized terms. I would ask God to resolve an issue and then move on only to find the issue was still an issue in the next prayer. As I read these prayers, my mind would fill in the blank journal lines that separated each prayer. In those undated, wordless spaces between entries, I knew my various struggles with sin and self still grew and thrived.
I remember from a young age my father constantly telling me, “Be diligent in the little things.” This was often from me neglecting to do my homework. I already had learned the information; I could ace the paper and the exams, and end up with a decent grade. Why should I bother with the busy work? That’s how I lived, and it was also reflected in my prayer life.
I believe in grace. I believe that right now and forever I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ.