Summary: This is the third part of the Lord's Prayer (Matt 6:11)
Today we will continue our study on the Lord's Prayer. We have learned the first three petitions which relate to God. Jesus teaches us that prayer, first of all, is about God, about honoring His Name, His Kingdom, and His will. That is the essence of Christian prayer. We pray, not merely for our needs but for glorifying God, letting Him control our lives and accepting His will. Sadly, today many Christians focus their prayers on the fulfillment of their physical and emotional needs. They even believe that we have a right to demand things from God because we are His children. John Piper said: "That isn't the point of prayer, at all. We are to give God the privilege and opportunity of revealing His glory through the meeting of the deepest of human needs. But it is because we want God to be on display, not because we make demands on Him for our benefit. If prayer becomes man-centered, if prayer becomes self-centered, if prayer becomes selfish in any sense, it ceases to be the kind of prayer our Lord said should be characteristic of His kingdom. And yet so many people approach God that way." The Lord's Prayer teaches us to put God first. When we do that, Jesus promises this "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt 6:33).
Today we will learn the fourth petition of the prayer. Let's read verse 11: "Give us today our daily bread." This petition sounds like a prayer of a low-income family. How many of us still pray this kind of prayer? Probably no one. Look at our refrigerator and freezer! They are usually full of a lot of food that we store (now maybe less and less because of the stay-at-home order). No one here is poor. We always have something to eat. Illus.: In Indonesia, there is a joke: The poor family asks, "Can we eat today?" The average family asks, "What do we eat today?" The wealthy family asks, "Where will we eat today (or which restaurant)?" The conglomerate asks, "Who will we 'eat' today?"
What does Jesus try to teach us by giving this prayer? Let's check the words in this verse. "Give" doesn't mean we do nothing and expect God to bring the manna from heaven. The Bible teaches us to work, to be diligent like the ant. Apostle Paul even says, "if a man doesn't work, he doesn't eat!" (2 Thess 3:10). By teaching "Give us this day our daily bread," Jesus teaches us to depend on God to meet our physical needs. In other words, we say, "God, I know I have to work. But I need Your help, Your strength, and Your blessing because without You I can do nothing!" The psalmist says, "It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:2).
“Give us ...,” not “Give me ...” Jesus reminds us of the needs of other people too. We live in a “me or self-center” world where everything is about me, my condition, or my family’s need or my interest. The Bible teaches us to think about others, be generous, and help those in need. Illus.: This man (on the PowerPoint), Steven Indra Wibowo, just sold all of his assets, almost 1 million US dollars, and donated them to handle the Covid-19. He may do that to gain favor from God as part of Islam’s belief to attain salvation. But how many Christians or those who have received salvation from Christ would be willing to do that? The early Christians sold their property to help others. But today, even giving the ten percent of their income or doing “tithe” is a burden for some Christians. May God help us to be a blessing for others. Illus.: For years, the church that I served in Indonesia gives a hundred free lunch boxes every Thursday as part of their witness to care for others in need. Almost all of them who received lunch are Muslims.
“Give us today,” not this year. We like to pray at the beginning of the new year, saying, “Bless us this year, God!” But Jesus teaches us to rely on God every day. Every day we should come to our Father to meet our needs. We also should live one day at a time. We walk with the Lord one at a time. Jesus in verse 34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
“Give us today our daily bread.” “Daily,” not monthly or weekly. Indonesian Bible translates, “Give us today food that is enough for today.” We must depend on him daily for support. Jesus teaches us to avoid greed. Illus.: Statistics and Research: What are you willing to do for $10,000,000?" Two-thirds of Americans polled would agree to at least one, some to several of the following: