When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He taught them first to place their focus on the character and attributes of God – “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name….” He opened the door of prayer with their eyes fixed firmly upon God. Prayer is basically intimacy with God. Jesus wanted those who followed Him to know that prayer isn’t some mystical formula or religious ritual, but rather it’s the communion of two hearts. Therefore, He taught His disciples to praise and worship God for who He is and to really get to know Him.
After the disciples had a clear view of God, they would understand that which was on the heart of God. When their hearts saw His heart, it would be natural for them to pray for the things that were on His heart. They would see the needs of the world and begin to pray for God’s will in the world as He taught them to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” They would pray for His rule and reign in the hearts of men and women.
Once the disciples had worshiped the Father, they would then cry out to Him for the things on His heart. That’s powerful praying. But then Jesus instructed His disciples to bring their needs to God as He taught them to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” They were to bring every need to God. Bread represented the most basic of human needs. Without food, we can’t survive. Therefore, Jesus taught His disciples to look to God to meet every need in their lives.
There’s an interesting observation about Jesus’ teaching on prayer. Notice the order in which He taught the disciples to pray. First, their focus was to be upon God, then the needs of the world, and finally their own needs. That’s almost reverse of the way in which most of us pray. We often pray, “Oh, God, help me! I need this. Please give me that.” We frequently open the door of prayer with our focus upon ourselves rather than upon God. Powerful praying isn’t just fervent praying, but it’s praying with the heart of God. We begin with God and that focus thrusts us supernaturally into praying for others. The final outcome is that He meets our needs. He’s Jehovah Jireh. He cares for us and knows every need of our hearts.
If we will seek first His kingdom, Jesus said that He would meet every need of our lives. In fact, immediately after teaching the disciples how to pray, He told them, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33 NIV). God is faithful to His children. Prayer that puts first the kingdom of God and His righteousness will always result in God’s provision and supply.
In praise and thanksgiving, we get to know God in His greatness and goodness. In intercession, we come to know the heart of God. But in supplication, we meet God as Jehovah Jireh – God, our Provider. Why don’t you spend some time today in prayer. Just get to know God. Get to know Him as your Father, who sits upon His throne – the almighty, holy God who deeply loves the world. And as you get to know Him, you’ll discover that He will meet every need of your life.