Give us this day our daily bread. Seven simple words, with layers of depth and meaning. The first three phrases of the Lord’s prayer are about God’s name, kingdom and will. “Give us this day our daily bread” begins the section about three requests for “us”: give us, forgive us, lead us. When Jesus’ disciples asked him how to pray, he said to pray like these six phrases. Why pray if the creator God already knows us and knows our needs? Because prayer transforms the heart of the one who prays and releases them to live with God’s power.
Give us this day our daily bread. We hear “live one day at a time.” While in the desert the Israelites had to live one day at a time. God provided manna, for daily needs only, a fresh bread delivery once a day. They couldn’t save extra or it would rot. We, too, need a daily connection to our Father God, for physical and spiritual sustenance. Our time with Him grounds us in the present moment, in reality. If prayer is neglected, we lack seeing God’s presence in the everyday.
Give us this day our daily bread. The Israelites had to trust God, not the manna, each day to help them. Dallas Willard points out, “What hinders or shuts down kingdom living is not the having of such provisions, but rather the trusting in them for future security. We have no real security for the future in them, but only in the God who is present with us each day.”
Give us this day our daily bread. There are no “I” or “me” pronouns in the Lord’s prayer. It’s relational; it’s all about our Father, his family, our community. Prayer is to change us into compassionate members of the Kingdom aware of God’s leading. We don’t have to compare, complain, or worry. He knows us and our needs. He can use each of us to meet other’s needs. We are the family of God, blessed to be a blessing.
Prayer is for our benefit. It helps us to daily remember God’s presence, character and rule. It’s to change our hearts, so we can live and love with the heart of Jesus, in his power. It’s to help us abide in him and to trust him. Prayer transforms the world BY shaping the people we become. Praise your Heavenly Father for the fresh bread delivery for today. As you listen to this hymn, Day by Day, ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust him and accept what he has for you.
By Donna Burns