The Grocery List

“Lord, teach us to pray.” – Luke 11:1 (NIV)

I grew up at a time when small, family-owned grocery stores perched on just about every corner in every neighborhood. My mother would call in her list, and they’d gather the items, pack them up in boxes, and deliver them by the end of the day. The stores extended credit, so when Dad got paid, they got paid.

I’m reminiscing those old grocery store days because I’ve been pondering prayer and our perspective of it. 

Too often we approach prayer like writing up a grocery list and phoning it in to God, expecting Him to box up what we need and deliver it pronto. 

It doesn’t work that way.

Like the disciples, we need to ask the Lord to teach us to pray. 

So let’s look at Jesus’ response. “The Lord’s Prayer” is simple, but it contains all we need on our grocery list to the Heavenly storehouse.

First on the list is HONOR. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Sometimes we’re so focused on the family relationship that we forget our Father’s holiness. We’re so busy crawling into Daddy’s lap that we neglect to bow down in worship to El Shaddai. Honor Him as your heavenly Father and honor Him as your God. 

Second on the list is SUBMISSION. “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Submit to His will for you and surrender what you think you want. Father does know best. Too often we want what we want and nothing else, and get mad at God when we don’t get it.  “This wasn’t on my list,” we complain. “This isn’t the brand I ordered.” Submit to His best for you. 

Third on the list is TRUST. “Give us this day our daily bread.” This isn’t a request only for food to sustain us physically. We also need bread for our minds, hearts, and spirits. And notice the words “this day.” Too often our lists contain more than what we need for one day. We feel better when we see caches stashed away for tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow)—it’s much easier than trusting God, whom we can’t see, for today’s needs. 

Fourth on the list is FORGIVENESS. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” I prefer the word “trespasses” rather than “debts,” but both convey the same meaning: If you want to be forgiven, you’ve got to forgive others who have hurt you. And we all need to forgive and be forgiven.

The final item on the list is DELIVERANCE. “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” God, being holy, will never lead us to do wrong. That’s our choice. I like the way the NIV Study Bible explains this verse: “Do not lead us into trials so deep that they would tempt us to be unfaithful to you. God does not tempt (in the sense of enticing us to sin).” Rather, we ask God to deliver us from the evil that surrounds us, so it won’t it affect us, inside or out. 

Honor. Submission. Trust. Forgiveness. Deliverance.

And, remember, you have all the credit you need—just write the check in the name of Jesus, who already paid. 

What’s on your grocery list?

Father, remind me to keep my prayers simple.  Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 6:5–13.

 From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

A Deep, Dark Place



From the LORD comes deliverance. Psalm 3:8 (NIV)

Decades ago, when the kids were still with us, we visited Indian Caverns. While I’d long grown out of my fear of the dark, my heart picked up pace and my breathing quickened as we toured the underground cave. It was dark. It was dank. It was scary, especially when the lights were extinguished so we could “see” and comprehend the deep, utter darkness—a darkness so profound I couldn’t see shapes, forms, or the hand in front of my face.

As I read Psalm 3 for my devotions this morning, I realized the writer, King David, was in a deep, dark place when he penned those words. His own son had betrayed him and usurped the throne. David had to flee for his life.

“How many are my foes!” he lamented. “How many rise up against me!”

I identified with his words. Not because I have foes (except one—see 1 Peter 5:8), but because I have woes. Because there are situations in my life that make me feel I’m “up agin it” with no way out.

You, too?

“How many are my woes!” we lament.

David didn’t wallow in his woes too long, if he wallowed at all. Because only two verses into this psalm, he’s turned the corner. He does this often in his writings—finds himself at the crossroads of Despair and Hope, and he chooses Hope—with one little word: “but” (other versions use “nevertheless”).

I call this “The ‘But’ Factor.” When in despair, factor in hope.

How? Let’s look at Psalm 3.

First, know that God is a shield around you (verse 3). Picture this. Nothing can touch you that doesn’t first go through Him, that He doesn’t allow. Everything that reaches you serves His purposes.

Second, know that when you cry to Him, He will answer (verse 4). Be sure of it. How do I know? Because He says so—right in His Word. He said it. I believe it. That settles it. God always keeps His promises. And because He has answered me in the past.

Third, you don’t have to stay up all night wrestling with worry. God’s got this: “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me” (verse 5). Repeat this verse to yourself—quietly or aloud before you close your eyes for the night. Use it instead of counting sheep. (Who counts sheep, anyway? More likely we count our woes.)

Don’t let fear take control (v. 6). Over and over God’s Word tells us to “fear not,” “do not be afraid.” Fight that fear with your faith. Don’t have much faith, you say? Remember Peter. How much faith did it take for him to walk on the water? Just enough to take one step. (Actually, just enough to fling one hairy leg over the side of the boat.)

Fourth, pray specifically for deliverance from whatever it is that troubles you (v. 7). God may take away the trouble, smooth it out, provide a way out, or see you through it, giving you the peace and calm assurance that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

And finally, know that true deliverance comes from one source, and one source only: the LORD—El Shaddai, Adonai, El Roi (the God who sees), Jehovah Jireh (the LORD will provide).

Are you in a deep, dark place?

Remember, you’re not alone. God is with you.

Your deliverance, beloved child of God, is imminent and sure.

Thank you, Father, that even in the deep, dark places of life, You are there and You provide deliverance. Deliver me today from worry, fear, doubt, uncertainty, and indecision. Bring me into the Light of Your presence and love. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Psalm 3

OTHER SCRIPTURE TO READ: Psalm 46; John 1:1–5; John 8:12; Revelation 21:23, 25; 22:5

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