Give us this day our Daily bread…(Luke 11)
We have been learning prayer, according to none less than Jesus. He is the best qualified to teach us to pray, having a perfect and complete knowledge of God; what He requires and desires of men, and of man; His needs, limits, weakness, and our deepest longings.
According to the LORD’s prayer, man’s needs are fourfold. We need to pray for our daily bread, as well as to pray for the forgiveness of Sin, and along with that, we must forgive any who have offended us. Finally we must pray for deliverance from Temptation and from the Evil One.
What does it mean to pray that God our Father “…give us this day our daily bread”?
We are literally praying for everything we need, physically speaking. We need to eat, to have shelter, to maintain, to feed our children, to be healed or to be healthy, so we look to the Father in heaven for all of these things.
Many teach that this request must be spiritualized, as if the petition for mere earthly needs is somehow beneath the Spirit of prayer. But the Physical aspect of Life is important to the Father in heaven also. God knows our needs, and cares about us. He is willing to provide for us in this world.
Jesus Christ , in his earthly sojourn , threw himself upon God in total dependance for his daily bread, He thanked and blessed God for his food, joyfully expecting all as gifts from above. He didn’t exalt the Spiritual over against the physical. In the Incarnation God sanctified the physical world again, just as he did in Creation when he proclaimed all to be good.
Prayer is much more than merely a cause and effect transaction, it is instead the assumption of a posture before God the Father. The posture is one of a supplicant and a total dependent.
The proud and God estranged say “I earned my daily bread by my labor and intelligence” and in essence thank themselves for the bounty they have received. “I work hard to feed my family, so why should I ask God for bread?”. Hard work and skill and ingenuity are very important indeed, for the commandment of God says, “Six days shall you labor…”.
Is it not true however, that even the skill, and ability to work and apply ourselves to our respective tasks, is a gift from the LORD whether we realize it or not? In one second we could lose our jobs, or our health and intelligence, and be reduced to utter destitution at any time. Everything we have is a gift of God, and an undeserved one at that. This is the thinking behind teaching us to ask for our daily bread.
Notice that it is “Daily bread” we are asking for. Day in and day out we are to come to God in dependance and in faith for the strength, wisdom, and impetus to do our work well. We need God!
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.( Psalm 104:14-15)
Obviously Man shall not live in bread alone, but Man cannot live without bread. Of course we need the Spiritual, we need to pray that God’s name be hallowed and revealed to us, and that the Kingdom of God would come to us. But we need bread, and all that it takes to produce it, to digest it and to profit by it and enjoy it. All of this is a gift of God not to be taken for granted.
Nothing is better for a man than to eat and drink and enjoy his work. I have also seen that this is from the hand of God.( Ecclesiastes 2:34)
Furthermore, God has given riches and wealth to every man, and He has enabled him to enjoy them, to accept his lot, and to rejoice in his labor. This is a gift from God.( Ecclesiastes 5:19)
The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.(Psalm 145:15-16)
The Father is the giver. Only He can truly give us anything.The Father gives us all, constantly, countless gifts of Love. He is the creator of all things as wells as the sustainer. Saphir says
God is the only giver, and yet the least recognized. Because He gives us so constantly, so quietly, we forget to notice and to thank Him. When a gift is withheld we feel it and acknowledge the power of God, but when we receive it day by day, and year by year, the very continuity of the blessing renders us oblivious of it’s great and high source. God gives his gifts so quietly as if He did not wish to be observed and thanked, but he is not indifferent to our gratitude and affection, asking, “…were there not ten healed? Where are the other nine?” He is so generous and tender, linking his goodness and bounty in a thousand ways with our own thought and works, that only those taught of his Spirit ever think of thanking Him:”
Becoming a Christian is a kind of awakening to the fact that God is love and has constantly given us countless good things. My life has been a constant reception of mercies, food, clothing, family , peace, sanity, health and safety. God has watched over me, (even when I was unaware of it), He has waited on me, and for me, when I never would have considered waiting upon Him.
The very nature of God is generosity! He delights to give to us good and undeserved things. He gives to His friends, and even to His enemies. The worst sinner on earth can enjoy a cool breeze on a hot day and a sip of lemonade.Their hard hearts can melt at the sight of a grandchild, and as long as they are alive, there is hope for them that they can be saved. God is good!
Most of the gifts we have enjoyed from Him, we never asked for. It never occurred to us that they were gifts, but they were. Jesus is teaching us to know and recognize our dependance upon God, our limitation and His benevolence and Lovingkindness. Everything thing we need to live, and to truly enjoy Life, God is willing to grant to us, for the asking.
“Give us this day our daily bread”.
Why else did Jesus perform the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, other than that the Lord cares about man and never forgets the needs and limits of physical life. He loves us and considers our frame?In the wilderness, the One who loves us, when told to send the crowds away, so they could find food, objected,
“If I send them away fasting to their houses, they will faint along the Way”
For Jesus loves Man, He loves us.