Prayer allows us the inestimable privilege of communing with the omniscient Creator of the universe. Given that privileges bring with them new responsibilities, we want to make sure that we are fulfilling our responsibility to pray as we ought. According to the model that Jesus gives us in the Lord’s Prayer, our first concern as we pray is to be for the expansion of God’s holy kingdom. To that end, we pray for God’s name to be hallowed, God’s kingdom to come, and God’s will to be done (Matt. 6:9–10; Luke 11:1–2). Having oriented ourselves in prayer with a proper focus on the kingdom, we are then free to ask the Lord to supply our needs (Matt. 6:11; Luke 11:3).
Jesus tells us to pray that God would “give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). The first thing to note here is that our requests are first and foremost to be for actual necessities. It is not wrong to ask the Lord to give us things that are not true needs, as long as those things are not sinful, but the emphasis is on making sure that we focus on God’s sustenance of all that we need to stay alive. The Lord does not promise to give us everything we have ever wanted, but He does pledge to meet the needs of His children. Paul says that “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19), so we are to trust Him to provide for us all that we need.
Note also that we pray for our “daily bread” when we ask the Lord to meet our needs (Matt. 6:11). The adjective “daily” reminds us that we depend on the Lord moment upon moment for our very existence. God does not guarantee what tomorrow will bring; He pledges to sustain us today. Praying for our “daily bread” reminds us not to presume upon the Almighty for the future. Any plans we make should be held onto loosely, for we do not know what lies ahead and God may work things out contrary to our plans.
The Lord has blessed many of us in the world today with technologies that make us able to grow large amounts of food and store it for long periods of time. As such, we may not have the same sense of dependence on God for our daily needs as those who do not know where their next meal is coming from. Let us be grateful for the Lord’s blessing, but let us also not lose sight of the fact that it is the Lord and not our technologies that feed us. Praying for our daily bread will help us do just that.
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
As sinners, we are not owed anything by the Lord, not even the bread we eat every day. Asking God to provide us with our daily bread helps us remember His grace not only in saving us from sin but also in meeting our physical needs. May we ever be aware of the Lord’s sustaining hand, and may we seek Him daily for every need.