Perhaps I’m dating myself here, but I grew up in a time when we stood every morning to sing our national anthem. When we finished the national anthem, we would recite the Lord’s Prayer. Yes, for those who are much younger, there was a point in time when prayer was allowed in our schools. It was, in fact, part of the daily routine. Though I seriously question how many grade school children knew exactly what was meant by “hallowed,” we still prayed it every day.
But then things changed. The political pendulum swung far to the left and it was deemed improper to do so as we did not want to offend anyone.
The Christian Church, however, took great offense. We ranted, we raved, we wrote letters and held protests — all to no avail. Prayer was not welcomed in our schools and it became increasingly difficult to even mention God as well. Christian clubs became harder to come by as rules were put in place to keep Christianity out. It seemed we had asked God to leave and it appeared that perhaps He had.
Sadly, in the midst of the protests, the political correctness, and the angry diatribe, we forgot to look and see what our prayers had done and are continuing to do today. As I walked through my sons’ school before classes began that day, I heard a small whisper that said, “See what the prayers of the righteous have done.”
What I saw that morning showed me God had indeed answered the part of the Lord’s Prayer where it says, “And give us this day our daily bread.” I saw children eating. They were eating healthy breakfasts that had been prepared for them, free of charge by some of the staff. They had fresh fruit to eat. They drank smoothies or juice. Some had bowls of yogurt or cereal with milk, and each one I saw had … bread. The toasted bread was generously slathered with butter and jam, and I watched a little girl’s face light up as she sat in the hallway and regarded her morning feast. She meticulously arranged her bowl, cup, and plate on the ground in front of her before digging in. All of the children were laughing and talking as they worked their way through the food before heading to class. Many of these children would not have had enough to eat and would have struggled to keep up as hunger distracted them from learning. But not here, not today, and not where people had prayed for decades that God would give us our daily bread. This showed me God is still at work in response to the prayers of His people. Prayers that may have been laying dormant for a time, but have now started to blossom with hope as years pass and He answers them in His own time.
I have seen hope at other times in the last few years as well. A few of us who follow Jesus volunteer at school activities to love and care for the staff and students. We have been able to share faith with children and adults alike. I have even been asked to say a prayer every year before the annual Thanksgiving feast; a prayer to Jesus that thanks Him for the food and for those that have prepared it.
But, you see, I have an even greater hope — a hope that if Jesus will answer part of the Lord’s Prayer, He can and will answer the rest. Therefore, in closing, I would encourage you to read the Lord’s Prayer below from Matthew 6:9-13 and think of where you have seen Jesus answer it in your own life and in the lives of those around you.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.