Our Daily Bread
I’m privileged. I never worry where my next meal will come from. I may be worrying about my next meal, but that’s only because I like variety and good food. What I mean is that I’ve never had to fret over a meal because my pockets be empty or my pantry bare (even though someone in our house inevitably exclaims, “There’s nothing here to eat!”). Regardless, I am learning to pray for my daily bread.
Jesus taught his disciples (and us) to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) Of course Jesus did not insert that line into the Lord’s Prayer only for those who face severe hunger. It for all of us. So... we pray it? Do we mean it? What do we mean by it?
“Daily bread” harkens back to the Israelites in the wilderness waking up to manna every morning. Those first few days would have been a sight to see! “What is it?” Exactly. Let’s call it “Manna.” One day the people were complaining about a lack of food in the wilderness; the next morning they found an abundance of want they needed scattered along the ground in every direction. Remember how if they collected too much, it would rot? It’s good to recall that one can’t be greedy with God’s daily provision. This was the ultimate lesson in trust: collect enough for today and pray the miracle happen again tomorrow.
So when Jesus teaches us—and I keep saying “us” because I think you and I were actually meant to pray this prayer—to pray for our daily bread, I think this is more than just thinking about what we are going to eat today. When those words come out of my mouth each morning, I have to ask myself, “Can I trust God to provide just what I need for today…no more, no less?”
How often are we tempted to pray for today’s needs, and tomorrow’s, and the next day’s? Left to my own devises, I come to God hands full of all the things I think I’ll need or want for this month or year that I have no room for the daily offering He wants to hand to me.
The prayer Jesus teaches should be understood in the context of the larger sermon it is connected to. Look at verses 25-34:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
And so, my daily prayers are becoming less of a laundry list of what I need and more of a time to sit with God and reexamine why I think I need anything more than what can be given today. Can I trust Him to be in charge of tomorrow? Can I learn to be content with today?
Of course, this isn’t easy. Especially now. Especially for our family. Especially for me. Not when you’re selling houses, furniture, quitting jobs, and moving 1400 miles across the country. We’ve got so many plates spinning right now, I’m consistently dizzy. You might think that if there was a time to put the daily bread prayer on hold, we’ve in it. But I’m finding that without it, I’m in over my head.
So I’m praying for my daily bread every day. And now I find that my plate is full of manna every morning; and I’m quite satisfied.