“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
The Lord’s Prayer, or more properly The Model Prayer, should be a part of your morning devotion. This prayer is Jesus’ gift to us, His answer to our request “teach us to pray.” Therefore, part of what we should pray every day is “give us this day our daily bread.”
The key to understanding this initial request in The Model Prayer is the word “daily” a surprisingly obscure word in the NT (found only here and in the parallel in Luke). Outside of the NT we find only one example, in a shopping list or list of expenses. This scant evidence proves a real challenge to interpreters and translators. What does the word mean?
Well, daily is very probable, but the phrase then goes beyond a request for enough food to survive. In a broader sense, when you pray for daily bread, you are asking God to provide everything necessary for today. That includes not only the food you eat, but every need. God is faithful to provide precisely what you need for today.
This request for daily sustenance (physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.) draws on the imagery of manna. Recall that God provided manna to sustain the hungry, wandering people of Israel. Every morning they could count on God’s provision. He never failed to provide.
Additionally, remember that the people could not store up enough for extra days. The manna would spoil after one day (except on the day prior to the Sabbath when they could collect enough for two days). They could only receive from God precisely what they needed for that day. In other words, they could not hedge against the future. They were forced to trust that God would provide for the next day.
Now what is the application for you? First, when you pray this part of The Model Prayer you are expressing your trust that God has provided for you today. Nothing will surprise Him. You will not be left in a situation that has taken you beyond His providence. Whatever your need, God has already provided for you. Praying to God opens both your heart and your hands to His blessing.
Second, you must pray daily in order to experience the fullness of God’s provision. Pay attention! I don’t believe God ever withholds a blessing from us, but we certainly limit our ability to receive His gift if we neglect to remain vitally and spiritually connected to Him. This means that you cannot store up for the future either. You must walk with Him in prayer, and thus trust Him not only for today but for all your tomorrows. You will know that each day as you open your heart to Him, He will give you precisely what is necessary for that day.
For most people, I believe, the future looms with a dreadful uncertainty. We have plenty of evidence that some tomorrows will be very hard. But a Christian never needs to dread the future. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could hold in our hands all the manna for the remainder of our days? No. We are not to trust in the manna, but in the Father who provides it. Also, God never relieves us of the need to trust Him, because we are meant to live by faith, daily.
So receive God’s gift today with a blessed assurance for tomorrow as well. “Tis grace hath brought you safe thus far, and grace will lead you home.” Daily.
Dr. Terry Ellis