Give us this day…
Questions for Reflection
- What are the things you depend on every day?
- Have you ever considered that God is interested in those daily needs?
- How does this prayer build our humility and our confidence?
- How can we pray this prayer with others?
- What are some things you can thank God for providing in the past?
Give Us This day
We’ve been looking at how Jesus taught His disciples and us to pray, and so far, we’ve covered some pretty big topics. God’s kingdom, His Holiness, His will on heaven and earth, our adoption as children of God with a heavenly father.
This is no small prayer. Jesus has taken His disciples into some of the weightiest of topics. So His following phrase of this prayer might surprise you.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray for bread. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
I imagine you probably haven’t prayed that exact prayer recently. We don’t think about food the same way many in the ancient world were forced to, although many in this world know that need as well as the disciples did.
We have supermarkets and fast food drive-thrus and apps to have food delivered to our front doors. But when Jesus talked about bread, He was talking about more than just groceries.
We like to imagine ourselves as self-sufficient. We can work hard to make things happen for ourselves. We can fix things, create things, change things. We’ve gotten so good at controlling things we rarely realize how dependent we actually are. Without things like food and water, we can’t survive. Our bodies begin to shut down after just a few days.
And though we think of ourselves as endlessly capable, we can’t produce water or food from thin air. We are daily dependent on things we can’t produce on our own.
When Jesus taught them to pray for daily bread, He was turning their attention to the long list of things we need each day just to survive. Things big and small that without this prayer, we often fail to recognize or fully appreciate.
Jesus is not so caught up in lofty religious ideas to miss our daily needs. Jesus knew what it was to hunger, to face sleepless nights, to feel the heat and the cold of scorching days and bitter nights. And Jesus invites us to bring all of it to God in prayer—every detail and every need.
Praying Simple Requests
Sometimes we can bring a certain formality to prayer, thinking that it’s the big requests that catch God’s ear. But Jesus doesn’t think of prayer that way. He not only allows for small prayer but encourages his disciples to bring every daily need to God in prayer.
Something significant changes when you begin to pray over daily needs. Suddenly you find God involved in parts of your day you previously overlooked. The God of Sunday services suddenly appears in the quietness of morning prayer or the business of an evening commute.
Too many Christians trust God with the major crisis of life while they try to handle everything else on their own. Without realizing it, they neglect all the ways God longs to involve himself, and, worse, they begin to think they have things covered pretty well on their own.
To pray for daily bread is to hand over all of your days to God. It is to trust Him for even the most basic needs and to recognize that He has always been the source of all that sustains you.
To pray for daily bread is to offer God your day. God, I entrust all of this day, all of this life, to you. I abandon my claim to any of it. All of this day is yours, to give and to take away as you wish.
Staying Dependent on God
When Jesus’s disciples heard Him talk about daily bread, they probably thought about the story of daily manna for the Old Testament, a story they had all grown up hearing and learning. Israel spent forty years wandering in a desert wilderness. To sustain them, each day, they found a bread called manna laying on the ground. God commanded them to collect just enough for that day.
Of course, not everyone listened. Some tried to hoard it away for the next day. They hid it in jars and stashed it in pots. But they woke the next day to find their savings rotted and riddled with maggots. But they also found that day’s manna waiting for them with the morning dew, just as God has provided the day before.
Daily bread keeps us dependent on God and not ourselves. It teaches us to receive things we can’t make or save. It is a gift and a lesson in trust.
So we learn to pray this prayer too. Give us this day our daily bread. For myself, for my family, for my church, for this nation.
Jesus, give us what we need this day. That You might sustain us and that we might receive it with gratitude and humility.