GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY WATER
In what has become the most famous and most prayed prayer of all time Jesus taught his disciples how to speak to their Heavenly Father. This can help to shape our prayers and our thoughts as we live through the current water crisis:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
These verses remind us that, before we think of our own needs (however urgent they may be) we entrust ourselves to a loving and holy heavenly Father whose Kingdom has broken into this fallen world and will one day be fully consummated. This prayer helps lift our eyes to that day. We can pray that his ultimate plan (his “will”) to restore a sinful humanity and a broken creation will come to pass. Only then will there be no more sin, death, pain and, yes, no more droughts. Until then we cry out for his Kingdom priorities to be fulfilled here on earth as the good news of his Son, Jesus Christ is proclaimed and lived out. We can pray that he will use a water crisis (or any crisis) to advance his Kingdom in this city.
“Give us this day our daily bread…” Matt 6:11
Jesus wanted his disciples to know that prayer is simply asking God for help – even help with our most basic needs, like bread or water. Two years ago, I doubt many of us were praying for water the way we are now. Shortages like this one show how we so easily take God’s provision for granted. In modern cities we’ve become so accustomed to finding food on the supermarket shelves and water in the taps that we forget it’s God who ultimately provides these things.
Nevertheless, in times of plenty and need (and no matter how neglectful we have been) our heavenly Father encourages us to cry out to him for help. Because he is the God who is sovereign over the weather he alone has the authority to answer our prayers for rain. Because he is the personal God who knows (better than we do) what is best for us, he is concerned that through this crisis we learn to trust and depend on him more.
“…and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matt 6:12-13
It’s difficult to know what will happen if/when we get to “Day Zero” and the taps are turned off. Part of the anxiety is in not being able to picture what day-to-day life will be like then. But one thing is for sure: as anxiety levels rise there will be a tendency towards friction and animosity as self-centered human beings seek to look after themselves.
Perhaps this is something you need to ask forgiveness for already. Perhaps there will be situations where, as Christians, we need to show the kind of gracious forgiveness and kindness that our Father has shown us. When tempted to look out only for ourselves and ignore the needs of other, how reassuring to know that our Father wants to lead us away from temptation and deliver us from evil. He wants to help us live godly, distinctive lives no matter what is going on around us. As always, we’ll certainly need his strength if we are to do that.
So: The start of the prayer helps us set our eyes on God’s Kingdom priorities. In the middle we ask God to sustain our bodies with the things we need. The end of the prayer helps commit our hearts to living in a godly way.
Let’s be praying the way Jesus taught us to pray!