Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Up to this point, we have learned from Jesus’ teaching on prayer that it must be God-centered. We pray to our Father is reigning in Heaven. We are to honor the name, the character of our great Father in prayer. Our petitions begin by asking God to accomplish His will. We long for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This extends to our life. We ask, “God, please accomplish your will for me in my life.”
The next section of Jesus’ teaching focuses on what we ask God in prayer. We first ask humbly, we desire to see God’s will done and not our own.
In verse 11 we see that God provides for our daily needs. We ask God for our daily survival. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Bread is the stuff of life. This is an acknowledgment that everything we have comes from God. “Father, if you do not provide for me, I will not survive today. I am completely dependent on you for the food that I need and the air that I breathe.” This is our confession when we ask God to provide our daily bread.
It is easy for us to forget that we are creatures. We were created by God to need Him. We are needy people by nature. But in our sinfulness, we assume that we are independent from God. This is the problem Paul highlights in Romans 1:18-32. We think we know best and we worship what God has created and not the creator.
You may not bow to an animal or a wooden carving and worship it but could it be that you worship independence and this shows up in your prayer life? How have you expressed your dependence on God in prayer today or the past week?
Practically how does this look? We do not want to give this lip-service where we pray empty words but not meaning what we say.
For some, it starts with understanding the truth of James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above. You must believe this truth in order to ask God for your daily survival. This works for the big picture and small picture.
The big picture is that Jesus Christ is sustaining the universe by His word (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15-16). If Jesus were to withdraw His word, the universe would blow apart. We are dependent on God for the existence and preservation of the universe we inhabit.
The small picture is my life, the daily bread I need to make it the next twenty-four hours. Awake or asleep I am dependent on God to sustain me.
After establishing in our minds that we need God and that everything we have comes from Him we ask for what we need knowing God provides it.
Asking God for our survival glorifies Him. He is honored when we do this. It may seem small and insignificant to us, but God is reminding us that He cares about the small, intimate details of our lives and He alone provides for them.
This is hard for Americans because many of us do not face hunger on a daily basis. We do not worry about where our next meal is going to come from. But, even in this context, God wants us to ask Him for our daily bread.
We must ask, but I think another way we can cultivate this attitude is by thanking God for what He has provided. My wife and I try to be intentional when we pray for our meals as a family to thank God for providing our food but also for providing our jobs so we can purchase food. God supplies what we need, but He does it through means. In this case, it is our employers. We work for them, and we earn money from them then we take that money and buy what we need to survive.
But the job is from God. He provides the opportunity to work and the success our companies need to continue to pay us.
If we are honest with ourselves, it is easy to say this and talk about doing it in our prayers, but it is difficult for many of us to actually do it. At the end of the day, we are not humble enough or thankful enough to ask God for our daily bread or to thank Him for it.
Jesus is modeling for His disciples how we should pray and the content of our prayers. The Lord Jesus Christ, He who is truly God and truly man, shows us that we need to ask God for the routine stuff of life. I think we are safe in saying when Jesus prayed this during His life on the earth, He was dependent on the Father. God provides most often through the ordinary not the extraordinary. We should be humbled and in awe of a God who loves us enough to provide the essentials we need for life.
We are back where we began. This request is teaching us about God. We need to ask, true, but Jesus teaches us that our Father in heaven cares about us, He loves us, and one way we know He loves us is that He answers our prayers for our daily bread.
God feeds the sparrow, and He feeds His children. We serve a great, kind, and benevolent God. Praise Him for His care and provision. He is worthy of it.