Summary: When we pray for "daily bread" we pray for all that we need to sustain life, employment, safe and secure government, faithful spouse, faithful neighbors,etc. It is a prayer of dependence, admiting that God is our provider.
In Jesus Holy Name May 6, 2007
Text: Matthew 6:11 Easter V - Redeemer
“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread….”
4th in the Series: “Prayer: Connecting to Our Father”
Bill Hybels in his book: “Too Busy Not to Pray” begins with these words: “Prayer is an unnatural activity. From birth we have been learning the rules of self reliance and self sufficiency. Prayer flies in the face of such deep seated values…. It is an assault on independent living. To people in the fast lane determined to make it our own, prayer is an embarrassing interruption.”
“Prayer is alien to our proud human nature. Yet somewhere, someplace we all reach the point of falling on our knees, bowing our heads and fix our attention on God and pray.”
We pray because by intuition or by experience we know that intimate communication with god comes only through prayer. Someone has said that when we work, we work, but when we pray, God works. Skeptics may argue that answered prayers are only coincidences, but as an English Archbishop once observed: “It’s amazing how many coincidences occur when one begins to pray.”
When we pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” it is a prayer of dependency. We trust that God, our Father, is our provider. Deuteronomy 8:17 challenges our self sufficient culture with these words: “You may say to yourself, ‘my power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth and confirms his covenant.” In other words: you have the ability to provide for your family. Where does that ability come from? God!
Give us this day our daily bread…..means daily, not next week, not next month, bread today. It is a prayer of sufficiency.
When the children of Israel were freed from slavery in Egypt, they found the Egyptian army pursuing after them. All of Pharaoh’s horses and chariots followed them to the sea. They were blocked facing certain death. Moses stretched out his hand and the sea parted allowing the terrified band of Israelites to cross to safety.
When the Egyptian army of chariots and horsemen followed… the sea collapsed over them and they were all destroyed. (Ex. 14) then Moses and the Israelites sang this song: “I will sing to the Lord for he is highly exalted, the horse and rider he has hurled into the sea.”
Their daily struggles were not over. How would hundreds of thousands of people be fed every day? How would their livestock be fed and watered in the wilderness? They were traveling to Mt. Sinai through a desert! They grumbled. They lost hope.
Ex. 16:4 “then the Lord said to Moses. “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day…”catch the phrase?” Each day the people should go out and gather enough “manna” for that day. On the 6th day they are together twice as much as they gathered on other days. The bread from heaven “was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.” (Ex. 16:31) the Lord said to Moses and to the children of Israel: “Then you will know that it was the Lord who supplied you meat in the evening and bread in the morning.”
The Lord gave them “daily bread” for 40 years, until the day they entered the Promised Land. And so we pray: “Give us this day, our daily bread.”
Martin Luther makes a very important observation in his Large Catechism. “When you pray for ‘daily bread’, you pray for everything that is necessary to enjoy daily bread. You must expand your thoughts to more than flour or the flour bin…for if God did not cause the grain to grow and preserve the field, we could never take a loaf of bread from the oven to set on the table.”
“This petition includes everything that belongs to life. Food and clothing, house and home, but also peace and concord in our daily business including our civil and political affairs. Though we receive from God all things in abundance, we can not retain or enjoy them in security and happiness unless he gives us stable and peaceful government.
The bible teaches us that we serve a God who is simply looking for opportunities to pour out his blessings on his children. It’s as if God were saying: “What good are my resources if I don’t have anyone to share them with?”
Let me ask you: How many of you love your children? God has called himself our Father. “In love, God predestin4ed us to be adopted as his children… now if we are his children, then heirs of God and co heirs with Christ.” (Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:16-17)