I’m going to be an open book for a few minutes (ha – like I’m ever anything else!) Something I’ve learned this last year or so of my life, is to pray specifically. God cares about us, and sometimes we are so shy to pray for what we want, what we need, that we don’t pray specific prayers. Not sure why I was so surprised to learn this. And while I believe prayer changes things, I also strongly believe that specific prayer REALLY changes things.
We aren’t a “rich” family, financially. We don’t even own our own home. Seems like for every two steps ahead, we are then pushed double that backwards. So we’ve just never been in the position for home ownership. And that’s okay. Some days I really love renting — especially when the a/c goes out. Or the fence falls down. 😉
But then there are the days when you have a photo session at a client’s half-million dollar house. And your heart feels sad. But wait. Pray specifically and that feeling will go away.
Our cars were 10 & 11 years old, breaking down, unable to be inspected without multiple repairs. And lists of issues too long to type out. With a family of 5 to tote around, we needed reliable transportation. Miguel was able to trade his car in for a mini car in November, something that won’t fit us all, but that will get him to and from his job 2 miles away just fine. Didn’t like the car payment added into the budget, but it will work. But last week, my car overheated….after many months of having engine issues that we just couldn’t get repaired yet. Another opportunity to pray specifically.
Now, even though I pray specifically and tend to be very honest in my prayers, there was still more for me to learn. And surprisingly, what I learned over the last two weeks, had actually been something that’s been right in front of me for most of my life, and probably yours too.
While doing my homework for my women’s Bible study, I came across something crazy! The words were leading me toward a new kind of prayer life, somewhat the same as how I’d always prayed, but now something even more specific was jumping out at me.
How many of you have ever heard the phrase (Bible verse!), “Give us this day, our daily bread”??? Okay, but do you know what that really means?! What about this: “Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?'” (Proverbs 30:7-9, NIV). Wow!! Just wow!!
Feeling let down by life, scared for the future, worried about if I should go back to work to pay for car payments or stay home with the kids a bit longer, trying to figure out how many photo sessions I would have to do to pay for the NYC trip Andrew wanted to go on next year for school, etc…, I fell into my bible study homework and when I got to this verse, it all just made sense.
I’ve never asked for only my daily bread! Another set of verses I’ve always held onto, Luke 12:22-34:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more with he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
How many times have I claimed this as one of my most favorite passages of scripture, but never fully even listened to the words?!
So after praying, reading, talking, etc., I made the decision to cancel the NYC trip. Andrew and I will try to go another year. We just couldn’t make it work into the budget. Especially when we don’t own our own house (and wouldn’t if we saved for a trip instead of saving for a house!), we didn’t have a reliable car for our family, and it just didn’t seem right to go just yet. Canceling it made me feel awful, as yet again, I felt like a failure to my kid. I want to give my kids the world, and I constantly feel that I’m having to tell them “no!” more times than not. So this was just another blow to my heart. But Andrew was super good with it and made me feel a ton better. The peace I felt after hitting the cancel trip button, was amazing. I’d prayed specifically.
Then I started my days by asking for only my daily bread. No more, no less. Just what God knew I needed, that’s all I wanted to pray for. He can handle the rest. Lord, give me this day, only my daily bread. It will be plenty for me! And I trust this DAILY now.
For the very next day after canceling the trip, our car overheated. Two miles down the road, the temperature of my engine went from nothing to super hot instantly. Water was boiling and overflowing out of my car onto the ground, sizzling and scaring us both (Andrew was with me as we drove the car right back home to grab Miguel’s car). Come to find out, something we’d temporarily repaired last year, had met its death and we were looking at having to have that repaired. Among many other issues that needed to be fixed. It became too much. I couldn’t travel more than 25 miles without worrying that my car wouldn’t start, and I couldn’t handle the worry and anxiety anymore. But another car payment was a thought that was also just as full of anxiety. But then I remembered that I had only asked the Lord for my daily bread that day. He knew.
The payment that was going to NYC, was now back in the bank as of that day. That day was the day I felt 100% peace about getting us into a more reliable vehicle and just tossing this one into the nearest river (or trading it in, whatever it’s called). Because I don’t live for tomorrow and the next day or even the next year. I had enough “bread” for one day and that’s plenty.
Doors were opened and I had the means needed to trade in the old SUV and get ourselves into a newer car for our family. Nothing extravagant, but only what we needed. (it’s amazing how many new features cars newer than 10 years old have on them now LOL).
We’ve been blessed in the last week, immensely. I don’t know what next month holds, when it comes time to pay for the car payment. The money’s there, I won’t worry too much, and as much as I always want extra for this or that, it’s okay to not think about it. God knows what we will need and we will be fine under His watch.
This last week, when we got the new car and I was dealing with all of that mess, I started to line up my budget for the next month, to fit that new car payment into the mix. And I stopped and prayed specifically over my budget. I didn’t pray for riches. I prayed for my daily bread. And I prayed specifically, for just two new photo sessions every month, that would cover the cost of this new car and not take anymore out of the budget. A request that left me peaceful, knowing that God had this. The next day came.
And TWO new clients messaged me out of the blue, on the same day, requesting photo sessions for April. Bam. He’s just that good, you guys!!!
There’s so much more I could speak on. But I must go finish up some editing.
But remember. Pray specifically. And believe that there is no importance in worrying about the days ahead. About what you are going to eat, drink, wear, etc. Wake up and ask God for only your daily bread. He will bless you with that! And it will be plenty! (And he can also delight in granting us a surplus when our hearts can handle it!)
Give us this day, our daily bread! For whether we know it or not, He knows what is best for us!!
God bless you, my friends and strangers 🙂