My Needs Matter / Learning from the Lord’s Prayer
This is a powerful anti-bumper sticker to combat the BS that says, “My needs don’t matter.” Plenty of people honestly believe their needs don’t matter.
The trouble comes, for Christians especially, when we convince ourselves our needs don’t matter to the degree we begin to think we don’t have legitimate needs. Then we may fall into the trap that says, “Although everyone else has needs, I am above having needs. I can sustain myself. I am ‘better’ than all these other needy creatures around me—my friends, colleagues, family, and other less mature Christian disciples.”
It probably began as a coping mechanism early in life, but the ego eventually turned it into a bumper sticker by adulthood.
Once you’re at this place, watch out! Just like you can’t hold off the tide from coming in, neither can you suppress your needs from making themselves known. And when that happens, the dam is broken and a tidal wave of desires will overtake you (and probably cause destruction to those around you).
As you think about that bulging dam, there are signs your thin bumper sticker will not hold for long. There will be ‘leakage.’ You will start to lie, hide, and sneak to get your needs met. Those are the telltale signs of cracks in your so-called foundation of an impenetrable perfectionism. You will begin to search for illegitimate means to get your once legitimate needs met.
It is far better to be humble and admit you have legitimate needs. It’s far better to accept your limitations, your needs, and your dependence on God and other people. Then you will discover healthy ways of integrating your needs into regular life. You have a need for needs.
If you think I’m giving in to pop psychology and the self-esteem movement, just consider the Lord’s Prayer. In His prayer, Jesus affirms and validates our needs. His prayer demonstrates that our needs matter, so much so that we are able to bring them before the throne of God.
Our Father who Art in Heaven
We have a genuine need for a Father, and we have a real need to call God our Father and know He exists all around us in the heavenly realm. We need to acknowledge He is in heaven and we are not, because there is a separation between us. We need to fix our attention and care on Him, rather than the things of this world.
Hallowed be Thy name
We have a need to set God’s name apart in our lives, so we learn to prioritize God and His ways as the supreme pattern of our lives and reality, for if we don’t do this, then life disintegrates completely. The degree to which His name is hallowed is the degree to which we find wholeness, peace, unity, healing, and purpose.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven
We have a need of God’s blessed Kingdom to come into our lives and into our reality. We have a need to subjugate our will to God’s will, so that we yield to His ‘better part’ for our lives. We have a need to serve this world and change things around us so this life conforms more fully to God’s plan and purpose.
Give us this day our daily bread
We have a need for daily sustenance, provision, and protection. These needs matter so much that Jesus incorporates them into His beautiful prayer. Even more, since it’s ‘daily’ bread, we don’t limit ourselves to having needs only once in a while, as if we only have legitimate needs during the really hard times; rather, our ‘daily’ small and humble needs are legitimate and important, too. You have daily needs that matter!
And forgive us our trespasses
As often as we pray, we need forgiveness. We have an ongoing need for forgiveness for our sins. Because sin breaks whatever it touches, we have an ongoing need to be restored to God, each other, and ourselves. This is our greatest need, and it truly matters today and forever.
As we forgive those who trespass against us
We have a need to forgive those who sin against us, hurt us, and are at odds with us. From the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” Part of being able to be released from the power of sin is to forgive. Forgiveness breaks the hold of sin in a way revenge cannot do. Your need to forgive is as legitimate as your need for food.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
We need the Holy Spirit to guide us past temptation, and we need Him to rescue us from the evil we’re caught in. Many do not realize the spiritual battles that rage around us every moment. If we could only see our present position, we’d discover we are in the middle of an active battlefield. And often we are the target. We need saved from spiritual warfare even more than we need saved from political, family, or interpersonal warfare.
Your needs matter; my needs matter. The Lord’s Prayer validates our need for needs, and it also helps us to rank our various needs. Jesus shows us what we need the most, to be sure, and He gives us permission to be needy, dependent, and beloved creatures.