So, this morning I was watching a YouTube video by Lulu Minns, in which she was discussing “asking“: asking the Universe (God) for what you actually need and desire. Sit down and clearly identify (specific numbers) your needs and your desires for the month to come (in my case, April 2018). And then, ask for it! Crunch the numbers, be specific, and ask for exactly what you need! Then get to work (obviously).
This description of asking for what I need hit a spiritual nerve with me: How am I doing with my “give us this day our daily bread“? Very vague. I say “give me this day my daily bread”. I pray it. But am I specific about what that actually is? Am I truly asking for what I need and want, being super clear and specific? No. Not at all. I’ll just leave that up to God, because God already knows what I need… Vague requests getting vague results.
I’ve always excused myself, telling myself that I am leaving the door open for God to bless me. But is this true? Or am I just being lazy? Does sitting down and getting specific about “this is what I need” for this day, this week and this month, make me more accountable? How motivated do I feel when I am specific about my needs? Acting responsibly requires that I identify what I really need, versus what I simply want. It also enables me to be realistic about “What do I need today?“. It’s very easy to worry about everything – it’s not so easy to prioritise which ones really come first.
Proverbs 14:23 reminds us:
Hard work always pays off, mere talk puts no bread on the table.
When I sat down this morning, after watching her short video, with the office expenses and my personal expenses, and I got detailed about “this is what I need“, today, this week and this month, that was “hard work”, not just vain and empty words. But there was more than just the financial aspect of “this is what I need and desire”.
The bread referred to in Proverbs, as well as the bread in Matthew is not simply a physical bread to satisfy my stomach’s hunger. When we pray “give us this day our daily bread“, we are actually asking for the sustenance of the day: the food, the shelter, the strength, the patience, the creativity, the motivation, the opportunities. Our “daily bread” represents our “necessities” of life. It may be the support that we need from another person, the encouragement to continue working hard. It may be a new contact that we need to make, or a door that we need to open.
And so suddenly, my question became: what do I need for today? As I look at today’s schedule, what I am supposed to work on and work through, what do I need? Strength? Focus? Creativity? Empathy? What am I truly asking for today? Do I truly trust God to be my Source and provide me with my daily bread?
As I have gotten more in touch with the idea of continually living in the present and Presence of the Divine, I have realised that that I need to differentiate between God as “source” and the actual channel of my “bread”. By this I mean: I could receive $100.00 from my work, or as a gift from someone, or from an investment – each one of these are different channels. But ultimately, all come from the Divine. Am I believing in the Divine or am I stuck on just one channel?
I have acquired a certain level of security knowing that my security or sustenance is coming from a particular channel (my work). But what happens when that channel gets blocked? Do I lose faith in God as our Source? I’ve been there. One door closed and suddenly my whole world has fallen apart. But that’s not actually true. Just one door closed. But I was too reliant on that one door. Maybe even made an idol out of that door. It because “God” and Source. And then that door closes, and I have been left feeling “God has abandoned me“.
So, this morning, as I looked at what do I need and want for this month, week and day, I started to identify my “ask“. This is what I need, here and now. This is what today holds: financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This is what I need and these are the desires of my heart. And to sit back and expect Divine grace to fill it. As I sat in silence with those needs, light and illumination came. “This” is where my focus and energy needs to go today, these are the things that need to be done.
We ask for our daily bread, and then we need to wait and hear the answer about which areas we need to focus on and work at. The hard work will pay off: but we need to be working on the right things. And it’s only in the silence that we can hear the answer of what that right thing is!
Prayer doesn’t change God. Prayer changes me!