Some Honest Thoughts of
Prayer and Dependence
Jesus teaches us to pray for “daily bread.” Like manna in the wilderness, if he provides just enough for the day we are in, then we will always be dependent on him. Our connection to Jesus will remain strong because we’ll always be aware of our need. The problem is, we don’t want to be that dependent.
I remember the feeling I had the first time I sat down at my desk in my new office at my first church. It was 2000, and I had just finished three years of training for ministry at a good seminary. I was recently ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament, and I had taken a call to be the Associate Pastor of a 700 member church in southwest Georgia. By all accounts, I was well equipped and ready for the task in front of me. In fact, during the interview process, I tried my best to project that image to the nominating committee. I wanted them to know I was capable, wise beyond my years, and mature enough to be a spiritual leader. Sitting there at my desk, however, the controlling emotion was fear. What if I fail? How is it that after all my training, I have no idea what to do first? The next moments are fixed in my memory. I fumbled through my desk, reorganized my paper clips and new pens, and then glancing up to my woefully small collection of books set out on an oversized shelving system, I uttered aloud, “Lord, I need you.”
It is no surprise that in a moment of panic I turned to prayer. People utter cries of desperation like that one all the time. The reason it stands out so vividly in my mind, however, is because I can truthfully say that my first act of ordained ministry was prayer. Overwhelmed by the task before me and my feelings of inadequacy, I turned to prayer.
I wish I could say that from that point on, I have prayed with as much passion and urgency as I did on that first day. Like many others (and maybe you, too), as my comfort level with the calling and responsibilities rose, my dedication to regular prayer fell. I suppose there are times when I act as though I just don’t need the Lord’s help. The more self-sufficient I feel, the less I pray.
So, I say, “DOWN WITH SELF SUFFICIENCY!” Let’s ask God to put us in situations where we have to rely on him. Let’s ask Jesus to lead us into places where we’ll always be praying to him. Let’s lay down the pride that says we can do it on our own and take up the notion that we always need him.
Praying for daily bread,