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What Does God Say When People Pray? (Part 5)
Matthew 6:9-13 

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. [10] Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. [11] Give us this day our daily bread. [12] And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. [13] And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 

In the Model Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." Don't read over that phrase too fast. Jesus didn't not instruct us to pray, "Give me this day . . ." He taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread."

There is a lesson here. Even the poorest among us should be concerned with the physical needs of others. My tendency when I have a need, is to focus on it, and neglect thinking about the needs of others. Knowing the carnal nature within me, and you, Our Lord taught us to be concerned with other people's needs as much as we are our own,

I have a story to tell you. Set down your pens and notebooks for a moment, sit back and relax and listen.

Eddie Ogan will never forget Easter of 1946. Her little sister Ocy was 12, her older sister Darlene was 16 and she was right in the middle at 14. Times were tough; her dad died five years earlier and the family struggled just to make ends meet. 

A month before Easter her pastor asked the church to give to a special Easter offering to help a poor family. He asked everyone to give sacrificially.

When they got home, the family talked about what they could do. They came to a decision, they would buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month, allowing them to give $20 of their grocery money for the offering. Remember, this was 1946, $20.00 went a little further than it does today. They also decided to keep their electric lights turned out as much as possible and not listen to the radio to save money on the electric bill so they could pass the savings on to the "poor family" that needed it. The kids got jobs cleaning yards and babysitting and they started a potholder business. They bought cotton loops for 15 cents and sold the three potholders they made with them for $1. By the end of the month, they'd made $20 on potholders. "That month was the best of our lives." Eddie said.

Every day they counted the money to see how much they'd saved. At night they'd sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. The church had about 80 people, so they figured that whatever amount of money they had to give, the offering would surely be about 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday their pastor reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.

The day before Easter, Eddie and her little sister Ocy walked to the grocery store and asked the manager to give them three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all their change. They ran all the way home to show their Mom and Darlene. They had never had so much money.

That night they were so excited they could hardly sleep. They didn't care that they wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; they had $70 for the sacrificial offering, and that was all that mattered.

On Sunday morning, it was raining. Darlene's feet got wet when the cardboard in her shoes came apart. They didn't own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from their home, but it didn't seem to matter how wet they got. Nothing was going to rob this family of the joy of giving. They could hardly wait to get to church!

They arrived, drenched, but they sat in church proudly. Nothing was going to rob this family of the joy of giving. They overheard some teenagers in the back talking about the Smith girls having on old dresses. But the girls didn't care. Nothing was going to rob this family of the joy of giving. 

When the sacrificial offering was taken, the family was sitting on the second row from the front. The Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of the kids put in a $20.

As they walked home after church, they sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for the kids, she had bought a dozen eggs, and served hard boiled Easter eggs with their fried potatoes! It was a great day!

Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mrs. Smith went to greet him, when she returned, she came back with an envelope in her hand-it contained three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen 1 dollars.

She put the money back in the envelope. They didn't talk. Instead, they just sat and stared at the floor. "We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash," Eddie said. "We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn't have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night. We had two knives that we passed around to whomever needed them." She continued.

Eddie knew they didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but he never thought they were poor. Not until Easter day 1946, that is. The minister had brought them the money for the poor family, so they must be poor.

The kids looked at their clothes and worn out shoes and started to feel ashamed.

They sat in silence for a long time. When it got dark, they went to bed, in silence. All that week, the girls went to school and came home, and didn't talk much. Finally on Saturday, Mrs. Smith asked them what we wanted to do with the money. They didn't know. They didn't care.

I don't know what this story reminds you of, but it reminds me of the widow Jesus talked about in Mark 12:41-44 (NIV). It says, "Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. [42] But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 

[43] Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. [44] They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.'

She understood what it meant to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." She understood it enough that she trusted Jesus for her next meal and gave all she had. She understood it enough that she became the answer to her own prayer, she gave so other people could have something.

A lesson the Smith girls were about to learn.

The next Sunday, the girls didn't want to go to church, but Mrs. Smith said they had to. 

Though it was a beautiful, sunny day, they didn't talk on the way. Mrs. Smith started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse.

At church, they had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?"

They looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week. Their Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to Eddie, and Eddie handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.

When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn't expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, "You must have some rich people in this church."

Suddenly it struck the Smith girls. They had given $87 of that "little over $100." They were the rich family in the church! Hadn't the missionary just said so? They learned a valuable lesson that day. A person isn't poor if they trust enough to give.

What does God say when people pray? Sometimes he says "yes," and I'll let you be part of the answer to your own prayer.

The Psalmist wrote, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Psalm 37:25 

Are you willing to prayer for your daily bread and depend on God to provide it?

Are you willing to pray for our daily bread as he instructed?

Are you willing to become part of the answer for your prayer? 

Impact Preaching: A Case for the
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