What does it mean to ask for your “daily bread” in prayer? Read here what it means for how we should pray.
by rev Daniël Myburgh
Who do you rely on for your physical care? As babies and toddlers, we rely entirely on our parents for care and protection. But as we know, it does not stay that simple forever! As we grow up and are influenced by the world, we think we can get by all on our own. Because we often think we need to take care of ourselves and doubt the Lord’s Fatherly love, He teaches us to actively pray for it.
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Our prayer is not a command!
The first thing that is important concerning this prayer for our daily bread, is that we should not see it as if we are giving God a command. A true believer will always pray with the right attitude – always with humility and a realization that God’s will is always above man’s will. Therefore, we can add “if it is Your will” to each of the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer.
God provides us with everything our bodies need!
Furthermore, the explanation of this prayer according to Heidelberg Catechism Sunday 50 is also important to us. When we pray this prayer, we acknowledge that God the Father provides us with everything our bodies need. It is extremely important that we put our trust only in God, and not in ourselves or in someone close to us. God is the Giver of all things – He gives us more than we need, even if it sometimes feels to us that we deserve more.
Everything the Lord gives us is grace, even something as simple and mundane as bread. He takes care of all of us – whether we are extremely rich or extremely poor. This prayer applies to all believers because everything comes from the hand of the Lord. Everything we have is ours because the Lord gives it to us. From the most basic – like the bread in the kitchen, to the most precious – like your faith in Jesus Christ.
How do we get the bread we pray for?
We get the bread that we pray for by working for it, of course! Having the ability to work and earn a salary also comes from the Lord. He alone enables you to do something so that you can earn money and buy food. My ability to one day excel in my profession is not because I – out of my own accord – am so gifted, but because the Lord gives me the necessary gifts. In fact, it is God who takes care of us and not us who take care of ourselves.
Daily bread is about our daily dependence on God
That is why Christ teaches us to pray for our daily bread: He teaches us to pray for that which we need on that particular day – tomorrow we pray again for that which we will need then. In this way we continue to realize that we are dependent on the Lord every day. We learn to stay in conversation with God through prayer. By asking only for that which we need for that day also teaches us to trust the Lord for the future.
Even though we cannot see what will happen tomorrow or next year, we can know for sure that the Lord will take care of us even then. As soon as we realize this, then we will be able to be at peace and live with the faith of Matthew 6:28-33.
Therefore, because we look to God as our Perfect Caregiver, we can all sincerely pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” This means that we will be satisfied with that which God gives us out of His Fatherly love. We need to understand that we need only ask for what is needed to serve and honour God sincerely.
Believers who expect to be spoiled by the Lord misunderstand his grace altogether. Everything that the Lord gives us, He gives us because He loves us, and not because we are so wonderful. As each of us knows, the Lord gives much more than just the bread we humbly ask for. And that is why we should be content and satisfied with that which the Lord so richly blesses us with.
So, let us trust the Lord – even more than the way little children trust their parents. The Lord will not, like other people, disappoint us. You can be sure of that when you pray this prayer.