Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Taking Your Needs to God

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As immense and powerful and sovereign and majestic as God is, He is concerned that the needs of His individual children—your needs, my needs—would be met. He wants a relationship with us.

He wants us to tell Him our needs. He wants us to reach out to Him. He doesn't want to be just this cosmic blessing dispenser. He wants us to come to Him as our Father and say, “Lord, we have a need.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, October 18.

When you have a need from a corporation, what do you do? Find the phone number; navigate through a series of confusing, touch-tone choices; then you wait—on hold—sometimes for a very long time.

Now, this is so amazing! God has an infinitely greater amount of responsibility than a corporation, yet when you have a need, you can have immediate access. Here's Nancy continuing in a series called, The Lord's Prayer, Part 2.

Nancy: Well, we've taken our time thus far on our journey through the Lord's Prayer. I don't know about you, but for me, this has been such a rich study. I've been studying the Lord's Prayer now, meditating on it in my own personal quiet time for several months, and just things that I never saw there before, things about prayer, things about the heart and the ways of God that have been so helpful and encouraging to me. I'm learning.

I've said this several times in this series, that this is a way to pray. It's a template. It's a pattern. It's a model for our praying, and I hope that it's affecting the way that you pray. It's also a model for all of life, how we think about life, what our priorities are.

We looked first for some days at just those first two words, “Our Father,” and then, “Our Father in heaven,” talked about who it is that we're praying to, who we're talking to, and the fact that this is a family prayer. We pray it together as the family of God, the children of God, those who are children of God through faith in Christ, and we pray it to our heavenly Father, someone with whom we have a relationship.

That's important to remember as we lift up these different petitions and requests. We're going to the throne of a King, but we're also going to the lap of a Dad, a Father to whom we may draw near.

I hope that as we've been talking about this Father, that the Lord is giving you—perhaps if you didn't have a godly, earthly father, or maybe no father at all that you knew—I trust the Lord is deepening your own love for your heavenly Father, your trust in Him, your confidence in Him because it's to our Father in heaven that we go when we pray.

  • “Our Father,” we start with praise before petition.
  • Then in our petitions—there are six in the Lord's Prayer.

The first three of those petitions that we've looked at already focus on the name of God, the kingdom of God, and the will of God. So before we pray for anything else, no matter how urgent, no matter what kind of crisis we may be in, we want to pray that God's name will be glorified, that God will be glorified. His name represents all that He is. We want to pray that God's kingdom will come and that God's will will be done.

Now, I don't mean by that that every time you go to pray—you go to thank God for the food or you go to pray for a particular request for you or your child or your family or a friend—that you have to go through all these words. But as we pray for all these petitions, it's in the context of wanting God to be glorified, of wanting His reign and rule to be exerted and asserted in this world. It's wanting the will of God to be done.

  • Why are you praying for the salvation of your lost husband?
  • Why are you praying for the healing of your marriage?
  • Why are you praying for that person who's just been given a terminal diagnosis?
  • Why are you asking God to give you a mate?
  • Why are you asking God to give you a child?
  • Why are you asking God for financial provision?

These are appropriate things to take before the Lord as petitions, but the question is why? What's our priority, and what matters to us? Are we driven to pray those things because of a love for God's name, for God's glory, for God's kingdom, and for God's will, or are we asking for our personal wellbeing and satisfaction and happiness? It's a matter of priority and order.

Now, the second half of the Lord's Prayer, as we launch into that, has three petitions, just as the first half does. The first three petitions are for God's name, His kingdom, His will. Now the second half has petitions, three of them, for ourselves and for others.

We don't ask for ourselves, and we don't ask for others until we ask for God's agenda, for what matters to Him. You know the three petitions in the second half. We ask first for daily bread.

That's a focus on the present. It's a focus on our physical life. It's what I need today. It's a request for God's provision. We're going to actually spend several sessions looking at this petition, but let's look at the three petitions in the second half, just to see how they fit in context.

First, we pray for daily bread. Then we pray about our debts. This focuses not on our present but on our past, what we've done to incur debt, our guilt. It has to do with our mental and our emotional life, offenses we have committed against God or others. This is a request for pardon, God's pardon.

Then we pray about this whole issue of temptation and evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” or “from the Evil One” (Matt. 6:13). This focuses on our future, has to do with what lies ahead. We say, “Lord, as we move into the days ahead, as we move through life, protect us from temptation. Protect us from sin. Protect us from the Evil One.” This has to do with our spiritual life.

So everything is covered here—our physical life, mental, emotional, spiritual, past, present, future, provision, pardon, and protection. If you think about it, there is probably not a request you could make of the Lord that in some way would not fit under one of these petitions.

So when Jesus said to pray this way, He wasn't just saying, “Pray this as a rote prayer,” though I don't think there's anything wrong with reciting this prayer. He's saying, “Use this as the skeleton, the umbrella, under which you put all of your petitions to the Lord, remembering that God's name, God's kingdom, and God's will are more important than any of our own concerns. His name, His kingdom, and His will take precedence over all other situations, problems, requests, and needs.

We tend to think that our basic needs, whatever's pressing on us at the moment, is the highest priority or matter for concern. The fact is, if you're hungry or homeless or broke, if you don't know where your next meal's coming from, if you can't find a job, and you don't know how you're going to pay this month's mortgage, it's hard to think of anything else. Jesus is saying, "First things first."

Before you ask God to meet even your most basic needs, before you ask God for essentials for living, seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, remembering that our basic, material needs are secondary in importance to the reign and rule and will of God in this world.

I believe that only those believers who put God first, sincerely, who want His will to be done and who have surrendered their will to His will, can pray and expect God to answer this request for daily bread.

I think if we're resisting God's will in some area of our lives, if we're wanting to reign and rule over our own lives, if we're wanting to be exalted ourselves rather than to exalt and glorify God, we don't have any right to come and pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” That's why the sequence of this prayer is so important—the flow, the priority, the progression.

I know people pray and say, “God never heard my prayers. God never answered my prayers.” One question I would ask is, “Did you pray in the proper progression? Did you pray first things first, God's kingdom first?”

Now, let's come to this petition, assuming that our hearts are for the glory of God, for the kingdom of God, and for the will of God. Then we pray, “O Father, give us this day,” or as some translations say, “each day,” “our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).

What is daily bread? Martin Luther, the great, Protestant reformer, wrote the Small Catechism explaining the meaning of each part of The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, and The Ten Commandments. In that little book he says,

What does "Daily Bread" mean? It means everything that nourishes our body and meets its needs, such as: food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, yard, fields, cattle, money, possessions, a devout spouse, devout children, devout employees, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and other things like these. Daily bread is everything that nourishes our body and meets its needs.

Now, it almost seems strange that a request for something as basic and, can I say, trivial, as daily bread, would be found in the Lord's Prayer, lodged between a petition for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven and the next petition, which is for pardon for our sins. I mean, those are two really elevated prayer requests, and daily bread—doesn't it seem kind of mundane compared to those more lofty, profound, spiritual requests?

I think that's maybe because we tend to separate the spiritual from the secular and say, “O, God's will, forgiveness. That's spiritual. But daily bread? That's secular.” So some of us don't even think to ask God for practical, specific, physical needs because it doesn't seem like it's a real spiritual request. Jesus said this is how you are to pray. “Give us this day our daily bread.” That says it is right to ask God to meet our needs, that we can, and we should, take our simple, basic, daily needs to God.

Now, keep in mind that this request, as with all the others, is based on relationship with our Father, and He wants us—as our Father, He wants us to tell Him our needs. No need, no request is too small to bring before our Heavenly Father.

He's a Father who cares, who wants us to ask. We all know that verse in Philippians chapter 4 that says, “Don't worry about anything. Instead, pray about, [how many things?] everything.” “Pray about everything, and the peace of God will stand guard over your heart and your mind” (v. 6 paraphrase).

  • Are you lacking God's peace?
  • Are you stressed out?
  • Are you worried?
  • Are you anxious about something that you're facing, some relationship that's falling apart, some situation or circumstance that you're facing?

Have you prayed about it? Oh, why pray when you can worry? Right? That's the way most of us live. The songwriter said it,

O what peace we often forfeit, 
O what needless pain we bear. 
All because we do not carry, 
everything to God in prayer.1

I have a little plaque on my desk that says, “Have you prayed about it?” Not, have you picked up the phone and called somebody else and asked them for counsel or help, but have you asked the Lord about it?

We have a Father, a Heavenly Father, who is concerned about our human, physical needs. He knows what we need, and He says that twice in Mathew chapter 6 where we find the Lord's Prayer. Your Father knows what you need. He cares for us.

If He cares for birds and wildflowers, as we read in Matthew 6, does He not much more care for His children? (see vv. 25-33). He is willing to meet our needs. He is able to meet our needs.

All of that is reflected in this petition. Give us, our Father, this day our daily bread, and God has demonstrated that Father heart ever since He created the first man and woman.

God made Adam and Eve. He created them with a need for food, a need to eat, but did you notice that even before they were created, God had already made provision for that need to be met? Genesis 1:29 God said to Adam, “Behold, I have given to you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of the earth and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Isn't that what the providence of God is? God looks ahead and makes provision for our needs.

Pro—"before" video—"to see." God sees ahead what our needs are. He makes provision, even for our physical needs, so this petition reflects the providence of God. It reflects the faithfulness of God. It reflects the Father heart of God.

That's an awesome thought to me. As immense and powerful and sovereign and majestic as God is, He is concerned that the needs of His individual childrenyour needs, my needs—would be met. He wants a relationship with us.

He wants us to tell Him our needs. He wants us to reach out to Him. He doesn't want to be just this cosmic blessing dispenser. He wants us to come to Him as our Father and say, “Lord, we have a need,” because He's seeking relationship, not because He needs to know what we need.

He already knows what we need, but He's interested in a relationship. He doesn't want us to just be saved, and then He just pours blessings into our lives. He wants us to keep coming to Him, to keep growing in our relationship with Him.

God could have just set up the universe so that we would automatically have everything we need, and we'd never need to pray. Trees don't need to pray for nourishment. Grass doesn't need to pray for nourishment. God just provides nourishment, but God's not having a relationship with trees or grass.

God wants a relationship with us, and that's why sometimes He withholds our needs or delays in giving us our needs because He wants us to come to Him and to ask Him. He wants us as children to have a humble, intimate, active, ongoing relationship with Him, and this says to me that God is not some detached, impersonal force in this universe. He's a personal God, actively engaged with His creation.

As I've been meditating on this passage, I just have to tell you one of the things that's been convicting to me is to ponder, what does it say about my view of my Heavenly Father, and what does it say to others about my Heavenly Father when I first look to others to provide for me, or I ask others to meet my needs before I ask my Heavenly Father or instead of asking my Heavenly Father?

I'll just get real practical here. I've been thinking about Revive Our Hearts and the funding of our ministry. We're about a four million dollar a year operation—something like that. That's too many zeros for my mind to get around.

There are funds needed every month to keep this program on the air wherever you listen to it, and this is a burden. This is a concern I carry on my heart. Our team does.

Other ministries do as well, and so I've had to ask myself as I've been praying through the Lord's Prayer, to whom or what am I looking for provision of our ministry's needs and for my personal needs as well? Somehow, the ministry needs just always seem to be bigger.

Where am I looking? To whom am I looking as the source for my provision? Am I more focused on donors or on The Donor, our single Great Donor? Listen, we have one Donor in this ministry, when it comes down to it—capital D. His name is Our Father.

He's our provider. He has provided all that has been needed. “All I have needed Thy hand has provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” Lord, unto this ministry, and you could say the same thing.

God has provided. He's your donor. What does it say when we spend more time looking to others, asking others, or go first to others, sharing this need with them, and we haven't even taken time to ask the Lord?

We haven't taken time to pray, and God has just made this real practical for me. To send out letters to our constituents, friends of our ministry, sharing our need without praying and asking God to meet our needs is to live as if I had no Heavenly Father.

Now, that's not to say that it's wrong to share our needs with others as God directs. Our ministry philosophy, by the way, about fund-raising is that as God directs, we feel the freedom to share with others the needs related to the support of this ministry—first with God, and then, as God directs, with others, but it's the Holy Spirit's responsibility to prompt people to give.

That's not our job, and it's the individual's responsibility to do whatever God is putting on their heart to do. That takes the pressure off of us, so we do feel the freedom, and I believe biblically the freedom is granted, to share those needs.

As you have a need, I don't think there's anything wrong with sharing that need with others, but if we're doing that instead of going to our Heavenly Father, before we go to our Heavenly Father, doesn't it in some way diminish or dim the glory of God in our own hearts and in the eyes of others?

If I want God's name to be hallowed, then I want it to be clear that what God has provided for this ministry and for my life and for all my physical, material needs, is God's hand at work.

I think some of us don't ever really get to see the supernatural demonstration and display of the glory of God in meeting practical needs because we don't ask Him, and we don't wait to see what God may do. The psalmist said, “My expectation is from God,” from God and God alone. Ultimately, this ministry, my life, is not dependent on any human being.

My dad tried to teach us this growing up, and I'm so thankful for those lessons now. He taught us that for our provision, for the meeting of our needs, that God is our provider, that we don't look to a job or an employer or a trust fund or an inheritance or a friend or any earthly source of provision ultimately to meet our needs.

That's why when my dad's business went through some very severe times of loss—his business had grown very quickly initially, but then there was a period of time when I was in high school when his business was attacked in various ways.

He began losing money a lot faster than he had made it in the business, but I watched my dad be as peaceful and restful and trusting and calm in the midst of that storm as he was when the business was doing great. Now I look back, and I understand it's because he wasn't looking to people who bought his insurance product to be his provision.

He was looking to God to be his provision, and "Lord, if You want to provide through this means, that's fine. If You want to take this means away and provide through some other means, that's fine. You are my provider." My expectation is from the Lord.

Where are you looking to get your needs met? to whom? to what? What's the source of your provision? Where are you going to get your needs met? Who are you asking?

Are you asking the Lord, or do you just do what so many of us do? We go to the Lord when it doesn't come, and we complain. Why not go to Him first, not a last resort, but a first response, “Lord, give us this day our daily bread,” knowing that He is a Father who cares and who is willing and able and eager to meet the needs of His children?

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will return and pray with us. You've been listening to part of her teaching series called The Lord's Prayer. There are so many times I try to tackle problems or worry about them without thinking, “I need to pray about this.” Nancy's effectively spoken to my heart today. I hope yours as well.

She's been very transparent about the way God provides for the needs of Revive Our Hearts. He is our Donor that allows us to bring this program to you every weekday. We are so thankful that He chooses to work through people like you for the needs of the ministry. If you appreciate the teaching you hear on Revive Our Hearts and want it to continue, would you consider supporting the ministry financially?

When you make a donation of $20 or more, we'll say "thanks" by sending you a book that has influenced Nancy's prayer life. It called The Valley of Vision. This is a collection of Puritan prayers that will make you think. They will convict you, and help you experience real joy. Here's a short sample.

Heavenly Father,
Thou hast led me singing to the cross
Where I fling down all my burdens and see them vanish,
Where my mountains of guilt are leveled to a plain,
Where my sins disappear, though they are the greatest that exist,
And are more in number than the grains of fine sand.

Ask for The Valley of Vision when you call with your gift of $20 or more. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

If God is such a great provider, as we heard about today, why doesn't He always give you what you ask for? Nancy takes up that topic next week. Now Nancy's back to pray.

Nancy: Father, I want to just thank You today for Your faithfulness. I want to say that publicly. Thank You for Your faithfulness to me. Thank You for Your faithfulness to Revive Our Hearts. You have been so gracious and so kind.

Thank You for people that You have used to minister to my physical and material needs and to provide for the needs of this ministry, but Lord, ultimately, our eyes are on You. You are the provider. I thank You for that.

Lord, I thank You that You are the One who will provide today's needs, the bread I need for today, and tomorrow, You will be the One who will provide daily bread for tomorrow and for the next day and the next. So, Lord, I come to You in just obedience to Your Word, and then to say, “Lord, our Father, give us this day our daily bread.” For that we will be grateful, and with that, we will be content.” I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.

1C. O. Rosenius. "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

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