Day Four: Give Us Today the Bread We Need Now
The prayer for daily bread reflects a most basic human need. This elementary staple sits at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer and affirms our shared dependence on the Father for the provision of regular sustenance. For people who do not suffer from hunger or the effects of famine, it can be easy to overlook the primary importance of seeking God for our daily meals. Yet, Jesus teaches us to pray this prayer, not only for those who go hungry in God’s world, but also for ourselves.
For many, what often seems most urgent are the myriad things on our ‘to do’ lists, transporting kids to and from school or sports activities, meeting work goals, or even fighting crucial spiritual battles. However, the facts are, we cannot do any of these things on an empty stomach.
There is a general sense in which the prayer for daily bread is just that: Lord, please give us the bread we need now, for today, and when tomorrow comes, then for tomorrow. For those who are impacted by unjust systems or structures, poverty, unemployment, or lack of access to clean water and daily bread, it is not assumed that ordinary life will automatically include the ordinary food that we all need. In this world of plenty, there are millions of people who starve—many of whom are children.
We must be praying for daily bread for ourselves, and particularly for those who need it and with whom we should share it. This is not a prayer that we just pray once. Rather, the Lord’s Prayer encourages us to continue asking God for the basic things we need, and to continue confessing the ways in which we have messed up. As we listen for the ‘little whisper’ of the Holy Spirit, may we remember the people who are hungry for God, hungry for love, and hungry for bread.
This prayer is also particularly poignant because Jesus as the bread of life is the source of nourishment for his people. Indeed, the Lord’s Supper is one of the ways that this prayer is specifically answered. In the Gospel of Luke—which differs slightly from Matthew’s account—Jesus teaches his disciples to ask the Father to ‘Give us each day our daily bread’ (Luke 11:3; emphasis added). Thus, we might be encouraged to continue a regular pattern of prayer for the bread that we all need for today, each and every day, until he returns again.
Question to consider:
Consider the crucial aspect of ‘our daily bread’. What is the relationship between humanity’s shared dependence on regular meals and Jesus as the bread of life?
Living it out:
Practice giving thanks to God the Father for your daily bread before every meal today. Pray for yourself and also for others in the world who are hungry. Practically share with another in need.