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The Lord’s Prayer, Part 8

In the next stanza of the Lord’s Prayer, we find a shift in focus. “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) Up to this point, the Lord’s Prayer has centered on praising and affirming God’s nature, character and kingship in our lives. Based on our relationship to Him, we also look to Him to meet our needs—“our daily bread.”

Asking God to provide for us is not an abdication of our responsibility to work hard for ours and others’ needs. Rather this request simply acknowledges that everything we have and enjoy is a gift from God. We look to Him as our loving, sovereign benefactor. The psalmist expressed to God: “You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor. You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth—wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength.” (Psalm 104:13-15 NLT)

Our request for God to “give us today our daily bread” also emphasizes a daily, habitual looking to Him for all our needs. In our culture, we often think of dependency as a negative thing. But dependency on God is always healthy, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) When a small child depends on its parents for everything that child needs, this represents a good and wholesome relationship. So it is in our relationship with our heavenly Father.

Finally, we recognize in asking, “Give us today our daily bread,” it would be foolish of us to rant and rave like a spoiled child demanding things from our Father that we do not need or should not have. God is not a genie who appears on command to fulfill our every wish! Yet He is not stingy either. Paul urged Timothy: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

The things beyond our needs that God has given us, we enjoy due to His kindness and gracious provision. He is so good! He wants us to continue to trust in Him and to learn to be like Him and give generously to others just as He has given generously to us. Thus we humbly pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”

 

©2011 Rob Fischer