07. Our Daily Bread


Matthew 6:11

Matthew 6:11

The Lord’s Prayer, this model prayer that teaches us how to pray touches on every important aspect of life. First, there is the great sacred request for our Father’s name, Yahweh, to be hallowed or regarded as holy. Secondly, we are taught to pray for our Father’s kingdom and the restoration and healing of our world. Logically this leads to the third request which is for God’s will to be front and center in our hearts. We pray for God’s will to be done on earth just as it is in heaven. These are the three good and noble requests of the first half of the prayer.

One of the great lessons we learn about prayer from our Lord Jesus Christ is that we are to be focused on God first. But after that, after we have our hearts in the tight place, then we may come before God with our concerns for our families, our friends, our work and our finances. After we delight ourselves in the Lord then we may pray for provision; for God to meet our daily needs.

In this manner, therefore, pray:  Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:9 -11)

The basic meaning if this prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread,” is simple enough. We are asking God to provide our daily food. And this prayer for daily bread should be understood as including all of our basic needs: food, shelter, clothing, work, etc. Let me share with you three general observations concerning this prayer request.

First, “Give us this day our daily bread” is a prayer for God to meet our needs, not our greeds. This is not a carte blanche check for every luxury item you have always wanted. In 1 Timothy 6:6-8 the apostle Paul wrote,

6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

Secondly, notice the plural pronouns: “Give us this day our daily bread.” I am to pray for God to meet your needs as well as my own. This is a prayer that teaches us to be compassionate. As Philippians 2:4 teaches us,

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

The needs of my brothers and sisters in Christ should weigh as heavily on my heart as my own needs. Therefore we are to pray “Our Father, provide all of us what we need to live today, to provide for our loved ones and to serve You.”

Thirdly, we are to pray for the bread, the necessities, we need for this day which is upon us. The word translated “daily” is the Greek word epiousios, which means the day which is upon us. This means that we are not to be anxious or worried about the future [1] We are to live in day by day trust and dependence upon God. Now there is nothing wrong with saving for a rainy day and planning for the future. But as 1 Timothy 6:17, says, we are not

to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  1 Timothy 6:17

When the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness, Deuteronomy 8 says that God humbled them and allowed them to hunger, and then fed them with manna so they might know that,

man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Ultimately, it is not our jobs or our ability to work and earn a living that sustains us, but the grace and goodness of God.

In this request for God to give us our daily bread we learn that just as it is important and right for us to pray for God to sanctify His name and for His kingdom to come and for His will to be done, so it is important and right for us to ask our heavenly Father to meet our needs. Think how wonderful and comforting this truth is! Our Lord encourages us to pray to God, our Father, and ask Him to meet our needs and to trust that He will.

Just think for a moment, doesn’t our daily needs occupy a large part of our time and thinking each day? If we are honest with ourselves, our needs and our concerns, our desires and hopes and fears occupy our thoughts far more that the first three noble and sacred requests of the Lord’s Prayer. This is just how life is. After all, we are only human.

So what if in this model prayer Jesus Christ had said that we are not allowed to pray for our daily needs. What if he said that praying for our needs is too trivial a matter to bring before God; it is too carnal; it isn’t spiritual enough? What if Christ said for us to pray for God to be revered; pray for the world-wide rule of God; pray for God’s will to be your will and then STOP—that’s it! Just go out and work and figure out how to meet your own needs on your own. Can you imagine how our minds would be even more pre-occupied with our own concerns? The kingdom of God has not yet fully come and at the bottom line we are flesh and blood and we need food, clothes, homes, cars, electricity and on and on.

But thank God that in His grace and mercy and tenderness we are taught to pray, “Our Father, give us this day our daily bread. Provide us with what we need to live, to love and to serve.” Remember when Jesus Christ taught this model prayer he was revealing God’s heart to us. When we bring our concerns before God we are not pushing our needs upon an all too busy God. He cares about our troubles and our needs and our daily bread. Christ said,

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:7-11)

Anyone who prays wants to know how his or her prayers are heard. Are we praying to a God who gives grudgingly? Are we praying to a God out of whom every blessing must be squeezed? Or are we praying to a God who knows how to give good gifts to those who ask and is more than willing to give?

Psalm 23:1 says, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Psalm 145 says of our  God The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. 16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15 -16)

Jesus Christ said that when we pray we should “ask”, “seek” and “knock.” Literally in the Greek text it is “keep on asking,” “keep on seeking.” “keep on knocking.” We are being told to be persistent in prayer; to never be discouraged in our praying. God is willing and able to meet our needs—all of them. The Bible declares,

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31, 32)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7, 19)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.  (1 Peter 5:6, 7)

How wonderful and comforting it is to know that we can pray, “Our Father, give us, all of us, this day our daily bread. Thank you dear Father for loving us and caring for us and meeting all of our needs.”

Finally, God meets our daily needs not so we can keep it to ourselves but to share. This sharing is one of the means by which God meets our needs. The apostle Peter wrote,

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)

This commandment concerns our spiritual gifts, but the principle remains the same for the material blessings we receive. God gives to us and meets our needs so that we can join Him in the work of blessing others. This is how the early church operated.

How all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; nor all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid  them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. (Acts 4:33-35)

As Christians we need to understand that all that we possess is entrusted to us by God. Therefore when a brother or a sister is in need, if we have the ability to help, we should joyfully do so. We should even be concerned with the needs of our pastor. The apostle Paul wrote,

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. (Galatians 6:6)

If your minister is teaching you the Word of God, sharing his spiritual abundance with you, then share what blessings God has given to you and contribute to his support.

So let us come boldly before the throne of Grace and confidently ask our Father to meet our every need. Let us pray for one another and give to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

[1] Matthew 6:31-34