"And give us this day, our daily bread..." (Matthew 6:11)
If you're a Christian, you've said the Lord's Prayer many times. I have said this prayer more times than I can count, but the other day this line in particular stood out to me - - "Give us this day our daily bread."
Or as some paraphrased versions of the Bible say: "Give us the food we need for today."
What stood out was not only what is said, but what it did not say.
It did NOT say:
"Give us this day our weekly bread and monthly stockpile. As a matter of fact, give me the BAKERY!"
Nope, just give me the bread I need for today, Lord. Give me what I need to get through the day. Just a few bites, a morsel, a perfect portion. Enough sustenance to make sure my heart pumps and my muscles work and my head stays clear. Just today. Just what I need for today.
The prayer in Matthew 6 is to be used as a model for our prayer life. Why would Jesus instruct us to pray simply for our DAILY bread and nothing more?
I think there may be several reasons...
He wants us to ask Him for what we need for today and TRUST that He will provide for tomorrow.
For people who don't grow up with a lot of food in the house, this could be difficult. I saw a show on TV where a woman hoarded food, stockpiling soups, cereals and canned goods in her pantry, garage, everywhere. She explained that as a child, her family never had enough food. They would split one can of beans for dinner. They would tear a piece of bread four ways and share it. Dessert was whatever they could find in the trashcans outside of supermarkets or behind bakeries. Now, that she has money, she didn't want to ever go without again. She never wanted her children to feel the painful knot of hunger in their bellies like she had. She had a home of her own, a decent income and so she compulsively hoarded food to ensure she and her children never went hungry. She didn't no what tomorrow would bring. Would she be unemployed? Back on the street? Living day to day? Would she have money for groceries? Today, she had a job and money. So today, she bought 10 cans of ravioli and placed them next to the other 10 cans already in her pantry.
Do I act the same way with God? Do I trust that he WILL provide? Maybe not. Maybe that is why he instructs us to pray for what we need today. Don't worry about tomorrow. I see when the sparrow falls remember? Certainly, I will take care of you. Trust me. Just ask for what you need for today.
He wants me to acknowledge him as the Giver of the Bread (and all good things.)
Could it also be that if God gave me the BAKERY (or more bread than I could eat in a day) that I would become complacent in thanking him? Would I forget to acknowledge him as the Giver?
I've got twelve rolls of sourdough, ten loaves of wheat bread, 4 Wonder Breads for the kids' sandwiches and even some of those Little Debbie's. I'm set. Good to go. Don't even need to pray. Look at me with all this bread! Wow, I must have done something really great to deserve all this!
He wants me to focus on Him, not on the bread.
If I had a bakery's worth of bread, I might be a glutton. No actually let me rephrase that. If I prayed, "Lord, give me this day a week's worth of bread" and He provided it, it would NOT last the week. I really like bread. Especially if it has cinnamon or raisins in it. Or both. I would be hard pressed not to eat it all within a few days. I would have bread bowls for soup, bread pudding, home-made croutons, bread and butter, bread and peanut butter, bread and bread and yeah, more bread. With all that bread, it would be hard not to focus on well, all that bread. So I pray for a day's worth of bread as a reminder to keep the bread in perspective. It is a gift. Enjoy it, but don't focus on it.
So...this "daily bread" is jam packed with spiritual nutrition:
Pray for what you need today and trust Me to provide for tomorrow.
Remember to thank Me for what I provide.
Don't focus on the provisions, focus on the Provider.
Wow, this one little line has so many powerful lessons about life!
All this thinking makes me hungry. I think I'll go make some toast.