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Let’s ask for the Lord’s help as we come before His Word. Father, help us to listen, open our ears. These are familiar words to many of us, but we don’t want our time to be an exercise in mere religious activity. Teach us, rebuke us, change us, inspire us, encourage us, lead us to Christ. We pray in His name. Amen.
The first church I served, hard to believe almost 20 years ago now, was in Orange City, Iowa. I was the associate pastor and it was a great place to start out in ministry. I learned a lot about the basics of ministry, had opportunities to preach and teach and did a lot of visitation and weddings, funerals, elder meetings, staff meetings. You probably heard me say before it was a big church in a small town, about a thousand people, and the town was a little over 5000 people, so 20% of the town was in your church and there were a dozen other Protestant churches.
It was mainly in a rural part of the country. The Dutch buckle of the Dutch Bible belt, Orange City. Not so named because there were any orange trees, but named after William of Orange.
Our church had doctors and lawyers, bank owners. It had many more professionals than you might think. But more than any other church I’ve been a part of, it had, not surprisingly, lots of farmers. Generations of farmers. Mostly growing corn and soybeans, a few pigs here and there, and one very large dairy farm that moved into town to have three thousand cows come from California to northwest Iowa to provide milk for Blue Bunny. They just backed up their trucks and hauled away milk every day.
I grew up with farmers on both sides of my extended family, so I knew a little something , but not much, and I admit I wasn’t the grandchild who was always pining away to get to the farm. I look back now and realize, oh, I was allergic to everything on the farm, that was part of it. I’m very much a child of the suburbs.
So when I moved to Sioux County, Iowa I had to learn new things. Learn about planting and harvesting and seeds and combines and ask how much was a bushel of corn selling for these days. Everyone, it seemed, knew about a lot of stuff and knew how to do stuff that I didn’t know. Just growing up in that sort of environment and hands on and even if you weren’t a farmer, someone in your family probably was. It seemed like everyone knew how to shingle a roof, finish a basement, change the oil in your car; a bunch of things I still don’t know how to do.
Some guys one weekend wanted to surprise my wife when she was out of town and they were finishing our basement and I “helped them” by handing them “is this a hammer?” and trying to do something in the corner that ended up looking very embarrassing.
They always knew directions, they knew north, south, east, and west. They would give directions, how to get places based on not only who lived in that house, but people who used to live in that house, which was very hard, if you were new. They liked to talk about the weather. Not just as small talk, but because the weather mattered; was this year’s harvest going to be good or bad or great or awful?
And because that corner of northwest Iowa is blessed some of the best farmland in the world, really, and because the worst weather seemed to dump on South Dakota and Nebraska and jump over Sioux County, they often had very good harvests.
One of the things I will always remember about my time there is an annual prayer service they had. It was called the prayer service for crops and industry, that’s exactly what it was called. Every year at the beginning of planting season the church held a prayer service, pray for the seed to be sown and for good weather and for the harvest that, Lord willing, would come six months from now. And I gathered that the prayer service had been around for a long time.
And when I got there, the prayer service, sad to say, wasn’t very well attended. You could look out and it was mostly older people, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the church has discontinued the prayer service by now. The service was in decline; there just weren’t as many farmers as there used to be, and probably there just didn’t seem to be quite the sense of urgency or need.
I don’t share that to fault anyone for not having a prayer service for crops; we’ve probably never had a special service for crops and industry in this church. But there was something very moving to me about the tradition. It was a throwback not only to an earlier time in this country’s history when most people lived on farms, it was a throwback to a less prosperous time in history, when people’s lives and livelihoods could be ruined if it didn’t rain in May, or if a hailstorm came in June, or some strange bug visited in July, or if the weather was unusually cold in August or September.
And it helped me realize that weather was not just something that could be inconvenient and you have to cancel something or it’s too hot or too cold to run outside, but real people’s lives and livelihoods depended upon it and there was nothing they could do except to pray. That little prayer service was a way of reminding ourselves that we actually, truly need God. And it is a very easy lesson to forget when, if we’re honest, for most of us the problem is not that we will have too little food in the coming days, but that we will eat too much food. For most Americans, the problem is not living day to day without enough food but disciplining ourselves that we would not eat too much of it.
If there’s one thing that God surely wants to teach us in this pandemic, it is to convince us once again that we are frail, that life is fragile, that we depend on God for everything. Haven’t you found yourself thinking of that verse from James 4 with new application? Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there in trade and make a profit. Indeed, you ought to say “if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
We’ve all heard the expression “if the Lord wills.” Maybe you’ve seen the initials “D.V.” on certain things, Latin deo volente, if the Lord wills. I might confess I would hear some people say that all the time: “Well, see you next week if the Lord wills” and I would sort of roll my eyes in my heart, at least, and think, “okay, yeah, we got it, we know.”
But now, a year on with the pandemic, don’t you feel like for the first time, yeah, you really mean it. We’ll do this if the Lord wills. We have no idea. We don’t know what it will be. We’ll try to plan it, don’t know what will happen next week, don’t know if that we’ll happen this summer. Don’t know what’s going to happen in the next year. We really now understand “if the Lord wills.”
Hopefully the Lord is disabusing us of the myth of our own self-sufficiency. The Lord’s Prayer means to teach us otherwise, even in the land of plenty we ought to pray day by day for our daily bread.
You can see the Lord’s Prayer consists of six petitions. The first three requests focus on God’s glory, His name, His kingdom, His will, and the second set of three requests focus on our good.
And the first of these concerns are provision of daily bread. Matthew 6, verse 11: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Our outline is very simple. We’re going to move word by word through this fourth petition.
Give. That may sound like a bit too aggressive, like we’re bossing God around. We just storm into heaven, “give.” But remember, we’re approaching our Father. We’re asking for what we need. I’m a very imperfect father and I am, sad to say, bothered my children sometimes because I’m a sinner. I found myself saying to some of the children yesterday, “I want you to notice where your mom and dad are and then I want you to make sure that you are somewhere else.” Very good parenting.
But even as an imperfect father, I’m never bothered when my children ask for something they truly need. And remember, this is not the first thing that we pray for. Jesus did not teach His disciples “begin with gimme.” No, the order matters. Not that it needs to be followed in a robotic way, but at least in our hearts the order prevents us from turning the Lord’s Prayer into a Christmas list of toys that we want, because before we ask for ourselves, we say, “God, Your name, Your kingdom, Your will” and then we say, “Give.”
Coming from a humble heart, the word “give” is not just acceptable to God, it’s pleasing to God. In prayer, God is not glad for our demands, but He is glorified in our dependence. We’ll say more about that at the very end, but think about it. If my son says to me, “I expect a car on my 16th birthday,” that’s a demand. It belittles me because it treats me as being a servant to him, that he expects and demands certain things of me, “Dad, do it, I expect it.” But if he says, “Dad, I need your help because you know how to drive and I don’t,” that expresses a dependence that honors me. You have something that I need, you have something that you can teach me and I am coming to you humbly with a request.
Jesus repeatedly commands us seek, knock, ask. Never be afraid or embarrassed to cast all your cares on the Lord for He cares for you. When you pray “give” from a humble heart, it is one way of honoring the giver. It confesses you’re good and you’re great. Give.
“Us” is the next word. So this is literally not a gimme prayer, because Jesus does not teach us to say “give me” but “give us.” As we’ve seen throughout the Lord’s Prayer, it is presumed that we’re praying this with other people, corporately. Together we are asking the Lord for what we need. And even if we say it individually, as surely we will, it’s still important to have that sense of “us.”
Maybe your bread seems very plentiful, but not everyone’s cupboards are full. Not everyone has plenty of money in the bank. Not everyone has a house, not everyone has two cars or three or four. More than 10% of the American population lives below the poverty line, 10% of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. So you’re praying not just for yourself but for others whose needs you may know or whose needs may be at a distance and yet you pray for them.
And as we’ll see, bread means more than just food. We are praying for the whole physical and spiritual well-being of God’s people. And not just their well-being, but their well-being for the sake of the first three petitions. Oh, Lord, give them the sustenance and the life that they need that they may honor Your name, that they may live for Your kingdom, that they may obey Your will.
Give. Us. This day. Now every word here is important, but these may be the most important words for us, “This day” and “daily.” We’ll look at those together.
Jesus is teaching us a profound lesson in faith because we’d like to pray, “Father, give me right now everything I need for the rest of my life.” Boom, done, finished, lined up, good to go. Got bread lined up until heaven. That’s what we’d like to pray. A lifetime supply right now.
Several years ago, I think it was a fundraiser for school and we entered some raffle or contest and we got a call later that night that we had won, and it was something really exciting like a year’s supply of I think it was Oodles of Noodles, or some pasta restaurant. A year’s supply of pasta. And of course when you hear those things, you think you’re just going to be swimming in pasta. They’re just going to dump truck pasta, whatever you want, for the whole year. But then you realize that what they give you are here’s 12 coupons for a dinner at Oodles of Noodles, use one once a month. That’s not quite what I was thinking. If the contest had said a lifetime supply of Chick-fil-A, I want the house overflowing with chickens. I want it all right now, don’t give me a coupon book to use.
We would like to pray to God, could you give me right now so I can see it everything I need, a lifetime supply of bread. But Jesus says no, I want you to pray this day, and every day, for daily bread. It’s the lesson the Israelites had to learn on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. They wanted to collect enough manna, save it up, and then Jesus, well, the Lord, made it stink. Except for the Sabbath, they could get two days’ worth. He wanted them to learn the lesson of daily bread.
Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s wrong to save money or that we have to live paycheck to paycheck. We see in both testaments that material abundance can be a sign of God’s favor. We see that investing, saving, is prudent. Jesus is not telling us, “I want you to start every single day back at abject poverty.” But He is commending a poverty of spirit, that we would pray, “Father in heaven, I’m not asking for the provision for six months from now, I’m asking that You give me what I need right now. Give me enough so that I can live and live for You today.”
Think of Luke 12. The rich fool. What made the rich man a fool? As he built bigger barns to store up all of his crops. It wasn’t even necessarily that he had a big barn, and he had a lot of crops, that made him rich. What made him a fool is that he said, “Soul, rest easy, you have everything you need.” He believed in the myth of his own self-security. I have enough, therefore I can rest secure, when Jesus says, well, he never knows, you never know when all of it could be taken away. Let alone what real eternal security is like.
There’s likely a connection in the Lord’s Prayer, not only with Exodus 16 but with Proverbs 30. There the wise man asks the Lord, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but may I be fed with the food that is needful for me.” And the reason is so that he would not forget the Lord in his wealth or profane the name of the Lord by stealing in his poverty. In other words, Proverbs 30:8-9 is saying, “Father, give us what we need for today so we might hallow Your name, not defame Your name by stealing, and not dishonor Your name by relying on ourselves.”
So God wants us to grow in this faith, the faith that asks for “this day” instead of a thousand days. God wants us to see that our lives our more fragile than we think and He is much kinder to us than we imagine. Even if when you go home in the next hour, and your refrigerator is full of food and your retirement account looks stable, we still must come to God each new day asking for bread. This isn’t a mindless ritual, it is a confession that our lives are much more fragile than we think.
Have you ever seen someone, and this has probably been your experience at some point, whose normal life gets completely upended? It could be a, we had 15 years ago when we had just moved to Michigan the first few months there we had a fire, a dryer lint fire. And it could have been a lot worse, but we had to be out of the house for several months and you have to make umpteen phone calls to get people to come and you’ve got to do insurance and you’ve got to find a place to stay and it smells and, and we had one child at the time. It was massively inconvenient. Some of you have had it much, much worse.
Or worse than just physical dwellings, you have a child or a parent who falls ill and everything, soon everything that seemed routine and normal is completely gone and you are making trips multiple times a week or a day to the hospital and tests and all the things you have to do, and if you’ve ever had that experience, you know how much you miss normal. You thought you didn’t like normal, until you didn’t have it. And you had a routine and you had rhythm. I mean, all of us have experienced that in the pandemic. Wouldn’t normal be amazing? Our lives can be upended so quickly—jobs, health, relationships, financial assets, national stability, global peace… They can all change quickly.
Our confidence for today is not that it will surely be like yesterday. Our confidence for today is that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That’s our only real security. Our lives are much more fragile than we think.
But here’s the good news: God is much kinder to us that we imagine.
Think about it. As much as you’re tempted to say, “God, give me a thousand days’ worth of food,” isn’t it better that God has decided to meet you each day to prepare a new meal for you? He doesn’t take care of us like we would often take care of our guinea pig when we were out of town. Poor Fluffly. If you’re out of town for three or four days, you just figure, you know what, Fluffy? Here’s a bowl. Just get four days’ worth of food, you’ll be fine. We’ll see you later. A guinea pig can gorge itself for the first six hours and then have an empty bowl for the rest of the weekend. Now the guinea pig survived, don’t be too concerned.
But what if our heavenly Father were like that? That’s not really what we want or need. For the Father just to dump a bunch of food and say, “See you in five years when you’re running on empty.” Is that what you want? Don’t you want a relationship with this God? Don’t you want a God who meets you and greets you every morning to give you your daily bread?
Later in chapter 6, here in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is going to talk about worry. Worry has everything to do with this prayer. There is a profound connection between give us the day daily bread and what Jesus has to say about worry at the end of chapter 6.
And let’s be honest: All of us have occasions, some moment by moment, where we are prone to worry. You wake up 20 minutes later than you had hoped and already anxiety starts to creep in—I’m going to be late, you think about the weather, you think about what to wear, you pass by the mirror and you see more wrinkles on your face that you were expecting, and you rush downstairs and you’re in a hurry and so you let the kids eat whatever they want and you start to worry, maybe sugar really does cause cancer. Maybe Lucky Charms is not a balanced diet. They are magically delicious, maybe they’re not magically nutritious.
And you get the kids ready and you realize one of your boys didn’t do his homework again and you start to worry is he eyer going to get his head screwed on straight, will he get into college. And then you drop your kids off at school and worry will they fall in with the wrong crowd, will they fall off the monkey bars. And you get home and you want to just unwind so you pull up Facebook on your phone and there you read about how awesome everyone else’s life is. All the amazing cupcakes your friends can make and you feel like a failure as a mom. Later in the morning you’re wanting to go on a walk but you feel that pain in your knee again and you worry, “I’m probably going to have get knee replacement surgery and will insurance cover it and how am I going to pay for it, who will take care of the kids if I have to be laid up for a month?” and then you think, “Well, what if it’s not just a pain in my knee?” and so you go to the trusty medical source called the internet and by the time you’re done you’re convinced you have whooping cough and African sleeping sickness and COVID has some to your appendages.
Later at the end of the day you put the kids in bed and you just want to relax, you turn on the TV, you flip through the channels, you get caught up on the news, and you start to worry about the country, the economy, cancel culture, declining morals. And then there’s another shooting or another protest. You worry about divisions in the country and you think, “How am I going to talk to my friend? She doesn’t think the same way I do.” Or maybe you worry about what the police would do to someone like you. Or maybe you worry how people are going to treat your son, who’s a police officer. And so you turn off the TV and you talk to your husband and you notice he has a cough and the cough doesn’t seem to be getting any better and he tells you that there’s a round of layoffs coming at work.
And then finally you want to close your eyes, rest your head on your pillow, and you’re overwhelmed with the tremendous sense of anxiety and you don’t even know why. You think about your life and your kids and your parents and your church and your health and flying and driving and sleeping and if you’ll ever have time by yourself or maybe why you have so much time all by yourself, and you can hardly even sleep.
That’s life for many of us. And Jesus says it doesn’t have to be that way. Three times He tells us do not be anxious, verse 25, verse 31, verse 34, and He gives us all sorts of reasons why we should not be anxious.
Verse 25: Life is too important.
Verse 26: He says you are too important.
Verse 27: It doesn’t do any good. You’ve never had a doctor say to you, “All right, here’s the test results. All we can do now is worry.” It doesn’t help.
He says in verse 28 through 30 God cares about you.
Verse 30 through 32: The pagans worry.
Verse 33: The kingdom matters more.
And then here’s what I want you to look at. Verse 34: Tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
You think, “Great, Jesus. Don’t worry about today, tomorrow could be worse.”
But of course, that’s not what Jesus is saying. He is teaching us there, in verse 34, the same lesson He wants us to learn with this fourth petition: Give us this day our daily bread.
His point is this: Today’s grace is for today’s trials, and when tomorrow’s trials come, God will have new grace waiting for you there, sufficient for the day is its own troubles. Don’t expect next year’s bread today.
You’ve heard me say before, anxiety is living out the future before it gets here. And you may look at other people, and even in amazement, and say, “I could never do what you’re doing and what you’ve had to go through.” Or you see people who are martyrs for their faith or lose a job or lose their health or lose a loved one or become a widow or a widower and you think, “I could never go through that.” Well, you can’t go through that now, today, because you don’t have God’s grace for that day.
Faith is trusting that when the future comes, our Father will be there to give us what we need. So Jesus is saying don’t be anxious about tomorrow, don’t start living out the troubles of next Tuesday because you haven’t gotten to the grace that will be there waiting for you next Tuesday. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness. Give us, not for all time, but this day our daily bread.
Look at that word “our.” I confess, for all the thousands of times I’ve said the Lord’s Prayer, I’ve never thought much about the word “our.” I’ve assumed it just means the bread for us. But many of the older commentaries are right to point out this is a possessive word. We are not just asking that God give us any old bread, but that God gives us the bread that belongs to us. That may sound strange, out of place. God doesn’t owe us anything, how can we ask for our bread. By what reason do we have a right to claim it as ours? And yet there is a sense in which we are asking for our bread.
The Dutch theologian Hermann Witsius argued that when we say “our” we are taught industry and justice. What does that mean? Industry because praying for bread does not relieve us of the responsibility of working for that bread. We say “our” because in an earthly sense we have earned what God is giving to us, so He’s commending industry. We’re not asking that God give us something as freeloaders. And then the other word he says is justice, because we’re not asking that God would give to us someone else’s bread. In other words, we do not expect to eat by sloth or by theft, we’re asking from God only what we need, what we could expect given our opportunities and our steadfastness.
And of course we realize some of us breadwinners and some of us are doing other sorts of jobs that don’t provide bread, and yet we count on others for that, or we’re at a season of life where we have set aside our daily bread. All of that is true.
But insofar as we are given that opportunity and that ability, we’re not asking that God would give us something that we haven’t worked for, but by His grace He would grant us what is ours. Our bread. And that’s the last word.
There’s a long history in the Church of interpreting “bread” both literally and spiritually. Augustin summarized the tradition of the early Church when he said that this can refer to three things: 1, all things necessary for sustaining life; 2, the sacrament of the body of Christ; or 3, our spiritual food.
Let’s look at it in two big categories, physical and spiritual. Certainly the first and most obvious meaning is physical bread, which means more than just bread, but food in general. Mark 3:20, 2 Thessalonians 3:12, in both of these cases, in the Greek it actually has the word “bread” even though the ESV will translate it as “eating” or as “earning a living,” but the word “bread” is there because bread can simply be one way of speaking about any kind of food or any kind of sustenance that we need for life.
And notice that Jesus did not direct the disciples to pray for specific national, international, global concerns. Now listen carefully, of course it’s right to pray for those things. And in a sense, all of that is subsumed under the prayer about “Thy kingdom come, They will to be done.” But it’s worth noting that Jesus points us to rather mundane personal requests.
One of the great blessings and curses of living in this digital age is we can know more than any other people and we can know more than any other people. The human head and the human heart were not meant to be aware of the entire world’s problems. Only God can handle all the world’s problems. And when we take in national, international, cosmic problems, it can all be very overwhelming.
But notice God instructs us, “Here’s what I want you to pray – I want you to pray for your daily bread, for clothing, food, water, for what you need to live another day.” God cares about the body and the soul. We should not think that concerns for bodily sustenance and bodily pleasure are somehow beneath the Christian.
Now it’s true, Jesus did not say, “pray for daily cake.” He’s not encouraging a sense of entitlement or extravagance, and yet neither does He overlook the needs and the nourishment of the body. The Bible never encourages a lifestyle of asceticism. Now we’ve called for a day of prayer and fasting and fasting is certainly biblical, that we would take a day or a short season to direct our thoughts and our prayers, but as a lifestyle, the Lord never encourages asceticism. In fact, 1 Timothy 4 says God created marriage, He created food, and you’re to receive them with thanksgiving and to enjoy them.
If you know that passage, it’s the demons, not God, who says, “No, no, no, you can’t enjoy anything. It’s very unholy for you to enjoy marital union. It’s very unholy for you to enjoy anything that pleases the body.”
No, that’s not spiritual. That’s demonic. God gave us good gifts. They’re to be enjoyed.
Bread, then, is first of all real bread and all of the necessities for life more broadly. But surely Jesus is not just thinking of physical bread, but also spiritual sustenance. It is a repeated refrain in Scripture: Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Praying for daily bread means we ask God for all things necessary for life and godliness. Jesus would have us see we can’t live without bread for very long and we can’t live without the Bible for very long, either. Don’t just give us this earthly bread, but give us the bread that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus is emphatic in His ministry. There’s better bread out there. Seek the heavenly bread that can feed you not just for a day or a week but for eternity.
Jesus makes clear in John 6 and elsewhere that He is the bread of life, He is the bread come down from heaven, He is the bread that if we feast on Him, we will live forever.
So when we pray the Lord’s Prayer and we come to this petition, Give us this day our daily bread, we’re not just asking feed me, we’re singing as it were in our hearts that great simple song, “In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus, give me Jesus.”
It’s amazing how much there is to learn and think about in these simple, familiar requests. Like many of you, I’ve had the Lord’s Prayer memorized for most of my life, and “give us bread” sounds pretty straightforward until we realize that even more importantly than filling our stomachs, God wants to fill our hearts, He wants to teach us something.
So let me give you, in closing here, three words that get to the heart of what Jesus wants to do in our hearts. The fourth petition teaches us a spirit of contentment, a spirit of gratitude, and a spirit of dependence. Let me just say something brief about each of those words.
Contentment. I’ve been reading all sorts of books as I prepare each week. I’m reading a book by Richard Coekin, who’s a pastor in the UK, and his book on the Lord’s Prayer he tells a story of a wealthy, generous Christian businessman, a friend of his, who lost a fortune in the Enron scandal. You remember that from a decade or more ago? And he had worked there and had lost a fortune through no fault of his own. He wasn’t one of the people guilty for the scandal. But as he showed him around this massive building where he used to work, the man said, “I have repeatedly acknowledged to God that my wealth comes from him. I’ve asked that if at any point He thought it would be spiritually better for me not to have it, He would please take it away. I trust that this is what He has done and I am content with that.”
I wonder would I say that? Am I praying that? Asking for daily bread reminds us that godliness with contentment is great gain. And God may have given you much more than your daily bread and contentment says, “God, whatever extra you have given me, may I be generous to share, and if you were to take this away, nevertheless I would praise You.” Contentment.
Gratitude. James 1:17 says “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” Did you hear that? Not just some good gifts, every good gift. You have kids? You have a spouse? Perhaps you have memories of your spouse. You have friends? A job? A church? A new sweater? Ice cream to eat later tonight? A favorite song to listen to on your phone? A good book to read? New shoes? Socks and underwear? Do you have a bed to sleep on? Did you laugh in the past week? Do you have any money in the bank? Do you have a Bible to read? Every good gift has come down from the Father of lights. Give thanks to God.
When we do that simple act around the table, saying “thank you, God, for this food,” we are professing something deeply at odds with our cultural assumptions, because most of us don’t live close enough to the farmer or to the butcher or to the supply line. We just know we go to the store and there’s ample food and we have a plastic card and we insert it and we take home all the food that we want. And it can almost, almost convince us that this food is not really come from God.
And so we live with a sense of entitlement instead of a sense of gratitude.
And the final word, dependence. I bet most of us do pray at some point and give thanks for our food. It’s a habit. Whether privately or with our family, “Thank you, God, for this food we’re about to eat.” We do that. How many of us, however, ask God for our food? Now we tend to assume there will be food. We expect not just daily bread, we expect stores full of bread.
And in one sense this is a tremendous blessing. We live in one of the richest parts of the country, many of us, in one of the richest nations in the world at the richest time in the history of this planet. And it is a blessing to have such abundance. But it’s also a profound danger. More than almost any people who have ever lived, we are tempted to forget God. And when we pray this prayer, it reminds us of our dependence upon Him. The word “daily” suggests we pray this prayer or something like it every day. We say, “Dear Father, I need Your help today. I need Your blessing today. I need Your provision today.”
Would you come to God with those requests? Would you honor Him with those requests?
When Jesus miraculously fed the 5000, it was more than a miracle to show that He was divine. It was to teach the lesson that they can count on Jesus to give them everything they need. Look to God to satisfy you. Seek His blessing each morning. Remember Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
I love what the Heidelberg Catechism says: Neither our work and worry, nor Your gifts, can do us any good without Your blessing.
It is only in the Lord that our labors are not in vain. We do not glorify God by trying to do things on our own so as not to bother Him. “You’re a very busy God, You’ve got a lot going on, You probably have many more important things to deal with in the world.” But that’s the great thing about God. He’s God. He can, He’s the only One who can, truly multi-task.
He can receive all of our requests. You don’t honor Him by trying to do it on your own and just, “I’ll see you in ten years if something really bad happens.” We glorify God by coming to Him each day for daily bread. I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain, come quickly and abide, or life is vain. I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour I need Thee, oh, bless me now, my Saviour, I come to Thee.
Let’s pray. Gracious heavenly Father, we ask this day for all that we need, for life and godliness and some will be here quite happy, content, eager for the things ahead, and others come with a quiet sense of desperation, very aware of all that we lack, all that seems anxious. Provide for us, Lord, as only You can. Keep us coming not just in times of trial but in times of prosperity, day by day that we may receive from Your hand Your good gifts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.