Give us this day our daily bread,
After praying for God’s name to be holy, for His kingdom to come, and for His will to be done, Jesus now leads us into praying for our needs. It is important that our needs come after praying for God’s work because it gives us the proper focus. Knowing that God’s name is holy, not our own, keeps us from becoming self-absorbed in our prayers. And it’s the same with God’s kingdom and will. Even though we now begin to pray for ourselves, we do so in light of God’s supremacy and sovereignty.
When Christ guides us to pray for our daily bread, He is describing our daily provision from God. Being altogether good and loving, God urges us to come to Him with our needs and cares. In fact, we are commanded many times to make supplication to God. Philippians 4:6-7 is perhaps the best known:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Notice that Paul gives praying our needs to God as the antidote for anxiety. God desires for us to find peace in Him, trusting His lovingkindness towards us. He longs for us to walk in faith, not anxiety.
In this sense, making our requests known to God is really for our benefit. Jesus tells us that our Father “knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matt. 6:8) Thus, asking God for provision is not because He is forgetful; rather, it is because we are forgetful. Each day, we naturally begin to forget the grace and mercies of our Father, and we will take our lives into our own hands, paying little heed to God’s plan and will.
It’s what we do as humans.
We constantly forget that we need God.
So praying daily for God to provide for our needs is a means of remembering that we truly do need Him.
This is especially important today. No other society, past or present, has experienced the prosperity that we have. Even without considering the conveniences of electricity or A/C units, most of us have little fear of going without food. Granted, our budgets may not allow us to continually purchase the types of food we want most, but often the danger of hunger is still nothing more than an abstract concept to us.
Or maybe water is the better example. Though we have the most convenient, clean, and reliable water that has ever been available on a large scale, many live on the verge of dehydration from not drinking enough. Safe water is perpetually at our fingertips, and we simply forget to drink it (or replace it with various carbonated, flavored syrups).
Both of these blessings were mere fantasies for most people in Jesus’ day and throughout human history. Thus, the prayer for daily bread was a literal prayer for daily bread, as each day was a struggle to have enough food to survive.
Does this mean then that our access to food and water are sinful?
Not at all!
They are tremendous blessings of God, yet because they are so available, we easily forget that they are not guaranteed nor promised. Even if they seem to be perpetual, God alone keeps them so.
More than ever, praying for daily provision ought to remind us of our true source of sustenance.
Meditate upon the daily blessings that God has provided you and upon His grace and love in giving them.
Pray to God in thankfulness for His provision and joyfully bring your needs to the Father in prayer, knowing that “we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)