finished-bread-021-300x199[1]Trusting the Lord to provide for the physical needs of my family is something that is regularly on my mind, and even more challenging for me recently.  So, it’s just like the Lord that the next phrase in our series on the Lord’s Prayer (see previous post in the series here) is none other than “give us this day our daily bread” (Mat. 6:11).  

Weird

Perhaps we should acknowledge from the beginning that this request in the Lord’s Prayer is a bit unusual when compared to messages around us:
  • “upward mobility”
  • “you deserve it”
  • “consumer rights”
  • “on demand”
  • “benefits”
  • “perks”
  • “the customer is always right”

While the marketing industry spends billions to ‘create a need’ in us, I find that I don’t even need others to inflate my sense of what I ‘need.’ I can do that quite well myself!

What are we NOT praying?

Let’s clarify what this request to “give us this day our daily bread” does not mean…

  • We’re not asking for any wants.  It doesn’t mean that wants are bad to ask for, but that’s not what this part of the Lord’s prayer model.
  • We’re not asking for what we deserve. If that were the case we – like Adam – would only deserve thorns and death (Gen. 2:17, Gen. 3:17).  Even our ability to earn income is a gracious gift from the Lord (Deut 8:17-18).
  • We’re not saying that food is all that we need.  Christ quoted from Deut 8:3 when He was tempted by the devil.  Even if we are hungry, we know that we don’t “live by bread alone.”

So what are we asking for?

  • For the Lord to provide in the way that is best, like in Prov 30:8-9, where the teacher says “don’t make me too rich or too poor.”
  • We’re letting God define what our needs are.  This is a scary one for me, since I have become accustomed to hundreds of comforts that feel like a need.  But in reality, our needs make up a pretty short list (Deut 8:3, Mat 6:25-34, 1 Tim 6:8).
  • Even when we feel like we’re in survival mode, this request helps us to lift our eyes off ourselves to think about the needs of others.  “Give us (plural) this day…”

This is hard.  How do we do it?

Like the rest of our life as Christ followers, it does not begin with gritting our teeth and trying harder.  We always begin by looking at God’s character and His works.  It’s most easy to see Him when we look at Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, who put on a ‘disposable earth suit’ like we have and walked in our shoes.
  • Worried about the future?  God knows what you need before you ask Him (Mat 6:8).
  • Experiencing a lack of something?  He has, too (Mat 4:2).  But that isn’t the end of the story (Mat 26:29).
  • Having trouble with contentment?  Remember that every good gift is a flimsy, cardboard foretaste of the solid joys and lasting pleasures in the presence of God (Ps 16:11).
  • Concerned God doesn’t want to be good to you?  God loves to give to His kids (Luk 12:32)!
  • Wondering if God is really able to help you?  Don’t forget who spoke all things into existence from nothing (Col 1:16)

Ideas for Application

  1. What is a way you have seen God provide in the past?  Make it personal with an “Ebeneezer exercise.”  An “Ebeneezer” was what the Old Testament Jews did when they wanted to remember God’s faithfulness.  It was a monument that they could use as a reminder to tell their children about God’s good character and faithful provision.
  2. What is an area of your life you could surrender to Him and allow Him to define what is needed and what is not?
  3. How could you, in conversation, gently remind me or someone else that God promises to provide for all our needs?

For further study

You can take a look at the summary and related scriptures in question 193 of the Westminster Larger Catechism.