Give us this day our daily bread.’ Matthew 6:11
We come now to an often overlooked portion of the Lord’s prayer. As we’ve said before, the first three petitions listed (may Your name be holy, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done) are directed toward God and His honor. Two of the last three petitions relate to spiritual concerns, including forgiveness and protection in the midst of temptation. The request for daily bread is the only mention of our physical needs in the Lord’s prayer.
A wealth of truth is hidden in these seven simple words, so let’s look at each word separately:
- Give – The word translated as give is didōmi and means to supply a necessary need. We ask God to give it rather than loan or sell our needs to us.(1) When we ask God to give to us, we acknowledge that we can have no food (and in fact nothing we possess) without God’s creative hand at work to supply sunshine and rain for the growth of grain, food for animals, etc. Everything we have began first with God.
- Us – (egō) (2) serves as a reminder that we were created for community, not isolation. We should pray not only for our own needs but for those of our family and the body of Christ.
- This day – (sēmeron) (3) this simple word literally means “today.” In essence, when we ask God to give us today’s bread on this day, we acknowledge that enough is plenty. We relinquish greed and focus on our need.
- Daily – (epiousios) The word translated as “daily” is only used twice in the New Testament, both times in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3) (4) It serves as a reminder of God’s provision of manna for the children of Israel in the desert after they left Egypt for the promised land. Manna was given for each day with extra on the sixth day to provide for the sabbath needs. (Exodus 16:11-36) Hoarding wasn’t an option because anything not used was spoiled by the next morning. God literally provided their daily bread. He still expects us to look to Him with the same confident expectation of provision.
- Bread – (artos) This word can be used to indicate the shewbread in the temple or a flatbread made with flour and water. In this particular verse, however, it refers not merely to bread but food of any kind. This verse directs us to ask for what we need (bread) and not what we may long for (dainty food). (5) We are to ask for bread, our simplest requirement, and not cake or “fancy” food.
When we pray “give us this day our daily bread,” we redirect our attention from ourselves and our own ability to provide and look first to God as our provider and second to our community of co-laborers in Christ. We ask God to give us our daily needs, rather than our daily covets or daily greeds. We choose to relinquish our desire to accumulate and accept a provision for this day alone.
Later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus directs His disciples not to worry about everyday life, food, drink, or clothing.” (Matthew 6:25-34) Our heavenly Father knows what we need. He wants only our acknowledgement that it all comes from Him. As we pray for this day’s needs, we abandon our worry and put our faith in the One who loves us with an everlasting, never-failing love.
We must remember we are not praying for daily bread in an attempt to inform God of a need about which He is unaware. In a very real way, we pray to remind ourselves of our inability to provide for our own needs, our utter dependance on the provision of God, and the absolute necessity of communion with our Heavenly Father.
Questions to consider:
1. How have you seen God’s provision for your basic needs? For unexpected needs?
2. How often do you ask God for the needs we often take for granted such as daily provisions?
3. If the only food you received today was that for which you specifically asked, how much would you have?
4. What if your provision was dependent upon that for which you thanked God?
Make a conscious effort to ask God for your “daily bread” every day this week. Don’t forget to thank Him for what He provides.
(1) “G1325 – didōmi – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 3 Jun, 2020. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1325&t=NASB
(2) “G1473 – egō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 3 Jun, 2020. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1473&t=NASB
(3) “G4594 – sēmeron – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 3 Jun, 2020. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4594&t=NASB
(4) “G1967 – epiousios – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 3 Jun, 2020. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1967&t=NASB
(5) “G740 – artos – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 3 Jun, 2020. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G740&t=NASB
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