We now come to the fourth request found in the Lord’s Prayer, which is “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). In this part of the Lord’s Prayer we are instructed to pray for the provision of our daily needs, the necessities of life (i.e. food, clothing, shelter, etc.). Bread represents the most basic staple of food needed in order to sustain life.
The idea of the Lord providing “daily bread” brings to mind the manna (or bread from heaven) that the Lord miraculously provided to the children of Israel for 40 years during the wilderness wanderings (Exodus 16:35).The manna was not only miraculous provision, but it was also provided daily, with the exception of the Sabbath (Exodus 16:26). A double-portion was to be collected the day before the Sabbath. Think about that. What a picture of dependence upon the Lord!
And so by instructing us to pray for our daily bread, the Lord Jesus is clearly teaching us that we too are dependent upon God, even for our daily needs. If truth be told, everyone is still just as dependent upon God for their daily needs as those Israelites were during those 40 years in the desert, and in our prayers we should acknowledge that dependence.
It is all too easy to overlook this simple truth. When things are going well, and you are living comfortably, it is easy to forget that all that you have is a gift of God. No matter how hard you may work, no matter how successful you may be, at the end of the day, you are still utterly and completely dependent upon God for everything. But do you pray that way?
Likewise, even when things are not going so well, even when you have no earthly idea how you are going to make ends meet, it is surprisingly easy to forget that you are entirely dependent upon God to meet your needs. You might think that being in need would make it much easier to acknowledge one’s dependence upon God, but how many of us in those situations fail to pray, or treat prayer as a last resort? It is not without reason that the Scripture says, “ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2, KJV).
And notice that there is nothing inherently “unspiritual” (whatever that means) about praying for your daily needs. The Lord’s Prayer is a model prayer, given to us so that we might better understand how to pray, and one of the main things that we are taught to pray is for our “daily bread.” To be sure, it is not the first thing or the top priority on the list (that is that the Lord’s name would be “hallowed” or revered – Matthew 6:9), but it is certainly included.
So let us learn to pray for our daily bread, and may we be quick to give thanks to the Lord for providing for our daily needs, whether we have a little or a lot.