Christ is asking only for enough to survive for the day. More than a request, this is a statement of faith. Bread, both as a metaphor for God’s word and in its literal form, is the building block of sustenance and the first component in allowing man to live, grow, and flourish. Jesus is stating that he believes that God will provide him with the means to make it through another day. He does not need to worry about what is to come, because he trusts that God is in control. This becomes incredibly important later in Jesus’ life, when he asks the night before his crucifixion, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but
offer help to man. And man should want to talk to God, out of an increasing realization of the richness contained in each and every exchange with the Father, and out of a growing love for the One who first loved us. When these conversations become a regular occurrence, Christians begin to see a change in their lives. A prayer life starts out like the start of any new friendship. The first few times we are together, we want to fill all of the silences, taking painstaking care with our words in order to be seen as witty, interesting, and fun. When the conversation is over, we exhaustedly
More than asking for objects or rewards, prayer is about asking for gentleness, kindness, patience, and self-control while also bowing with humility to acknowledge a true lack of these qualities. yours be done.”xiii Although Christ’s specific request was not granted, God instead gave him the strength to complete his mission on earth and face the cross: daily bread. This is often how God works in prayer: he will not always give exactly what we asked for in response to a difficult situation, but he will give us what we need to survive. Prayers for the healing of a family member’s illness or the cessation of pain, whether emotional or physical, often go unanswered for longer than we would like. At times like these it is important, if not comforting, to remember that God’s view of the world is significantly different from ours. If this universe is a patchwork quilt, it is held so close to our eyes that we can only see darkness, whereas God sees every side, angle, and miniscule detail alike. Christians do not know why some of their prayers go apparently unanswered while others result in fantastic, timely displays of God’s love and listening ear. Christians do know, however, that God will not leave them to flounder on their own. God may not offer immediate healing, but he will offer the believer a chance to see her friends’ and family members’ love at work in her life or give her the internal strength that she needs to persevere. Through prayer, both answered and unanswered, Christians learn more about the way and will of their God. This leads one to the conclusion that prayer is the ultimate form of conversation. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 tells Christians to “pray without ceasing,” which seems like an unreasonable request until one takes the character of God into consideration. When we go to a friend to seek advice, they will inevitably fall short of center and land on the side of either ignorant or overbearing. God, of course, does not have these shortcomings. Man is endlessly inferior to and in need of God. Nevertheless, God wants to hear from and
50 • The Dartmouth Apologia • Spring 2016 ]
retreat. As we grow closer, we will one day find ourselves sitting on the floor of one of our dorm rooms doing homework. If we have a thought, any thought in the world, we do not hesitate to share it with our companion. We start to pick up on little words and phrases that they use all the time; we give their favorite food a shot even though it looks like something we would never eat. We make small adjustments in our lives to accommodate this new relationship. That is what prayer without ceasing looks like: God becomes our primary mental conversation partner, our lives see a million tiny adjustments to accommodate his presence, and we are infinitely, inexpressibly better for it. i. Quote is paraphrased from Matthew 7:7. ii. Matthew 7:7 (NIV). iii. Matthew 7:7-10 (NIV). iv. John 6:51 (NIV). v. Matthew 4:4 (NIV). vi. See Genesis 2 and 3. vii. James 3:17 (NIV). viii. Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV). ix. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Harper Collins, 2009), 121-128. x. See Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise. xi. James 1:5 (NIV). xii. Matthew 6:11 (NIV). xiii. Luke 22:42 (NIV).
Madeline Killen ’18 is from Belmont, North Carolina. She is a Psychology major with a minor in English.
Volume 10, Issue 2