Give us each day our daily bread (Luke 11:3).
(We continue today in our brief series on the Lord’s Prayer.)
The opening requests that Jesus models for us are about God — so like God they are majestic, huge, and inspiring. A lesson Jesus clearly means for us to learn in this prayer is that God comes first, and only when God is first does everything else matter or fall into place. However, the following pleas that Jesus himself places in our mouth are about us — and like us they are daily, mundane, unspectacular.
Yet, these things are mingled in one prayer, because they are meant to be mingled in our life (and prayer life). Our heavenly Father knows we have needs, Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:32). But we are not turning away from God’s glory to our needs; we are turning to God’s glory through the supply of our needs!
We are not turning away from God’s glory to our needs; we are turning to God’s glory through the supply of our needs!
In other words, this is not a “I’ve scratched your back by asking for your will to be done, now you scratch my back by supplying my desires” prayer. No, rather it is saying, “I love you, Jesus, more than I love your gifts; so I will not become a servant to your gifts, but will bring them into submission and service to me as I submit to and serve you.”
It is saying with Paul that, whatever I do — even necessary and some-times boring tasks like eating and drinking — I will do to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
This prayer for daily bread boils down to a prayer simply for life — so that we might exist for God’s glory.
It is all but impossible to consider this request in the Lord’s Prayer for daily bread, without thinking of the daily supply of manna in the Old Testament that God provided in the wilderness. And, interestingly, there he emphasized the fact that the manna was supplied to teach them their need, not of bread, but of God! (Deuteronomy 8:3). In other words, God says, “I gave you food, so you would learn that I give food! I gave you food, which you depend on, so that you would learn you don’t ultimately depend on food but on me!”
So this prayer for daily bread boils down to a prayer simply for life — so that we might exist for God’s glory. We desire to live, yes, but not for our own pleasure or to pursue our own goals. We long to live, now and eternally, to the praise of our God and Savior.