Day Five: ‘Give us today our daily bread…’ (Matthew 6, verse 11) Readings: Deuteronomy 8:6-18; Matthew 6:25-34 After concentrating on the person of God ‘our Father in heaven’ and the accomplishment of His will ‘on earth as it is heaven’, we come to the request: ‘Give us today our daily bread’. During my ministry with a mission organisation here in Africa, I had the opportunity to visit many churches in European cities, especially in Germany. It was in the year 2000. One Sunday, after the service, I was invited to lunch with one family. Around the table, we talked about our ideas on various points while we were having our lunch. Curiously, I asked a question to find out the opinion of Westerners on Jesus’ phrase ‘Give us today our daily bread’. My host’s reply shocked me. ‘This prayer has no place in the daily life of Westerners today. Why ask God for what we already have in abundance? I think the request would have more sense in Africa and other developing countries, where it is hard to find one meal a day. You may already have noticed this during your stay here, what I am saying is true.’ And yet, isn’t God the source of everything we have, after all (Deuteronomy 8:18)? What does ‘our daily bread’ mean? Certainly it means the bread we need to live. It could mean bread for today but also bread for the day to come. Either possibility underlines the fact that every day we depend upon our Father in heaven to meet all our basic needs, whether material or spiritual. Of course this includes everyday necessities. Naturally we may well want many other things, but if we are honest, our real needs are few. Jesus Christ teaches us to focus on what we really need, and to entrust ourselves then to God who in His omniscience knows all our needs before we even bring them to Him. Unlike those who are not children of God and who take for granted the gifts of life, when we pray, we should recognise that everything we have comes from God and we depend on Him for all we need. In His generosity, He provides for the needs of His children, and has done so ever since the world began. After blessing Adam and Eve, God said: ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.‘ (Genesis 1:29). Let us also remember that this request to our Father for our personal needs involves us also in the needs of others. When we pray ‘Give us today our daily bread’, our request must also cover the material, physical and spiritual needs of our friends and especially all those who are in need worldwide. ‘Give us today our daily bread’ means recognising that God is our source of supply. We must get rid of the idea that we supply all our own needs. We need to entrust our needs to our Father who knows what we need. He will not fail to give to us. Verses of the day: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. ‘Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11). Prayer Points:
- Express your gratitude to God that all your physical needs are taken care of by Him, and thank Him for continuing to provide so that His name may be glorified.
- Take some time to pray for the needs of others as well as your own.