Jesus demonstrated the ultimate example a life wrapped in prayer. Everyone who knows Jesus and has read the gospels understands this. His disciples were so impressed by His constant communication with His Heavenly Father that they longed to talk with God, too.
Teach us to pray, they begged, and at their request Jesus laid out for them a wonderful template for a God-pleasing prayer. We reverently call it The Lord’s Prayer, and I have prayed that prayer all my life. The verse above is known as the Fourth Petition. I know the petitions. I have studied them at various times over the years. But I just realized that I have never fully absorbed the import behind these words in the Fourth Petition.
Give us THIS DAY our daily bread. I don’t know if that is what I have been praying for all these years. I’m not sure I have been asking for this day’s bread alone. I fully suspect I have been taking a much longer view.
Could I really trust God for my bread one day at a time? Isn’t that what He is asking us to do? In the Old Testament, God gave manna only one day at a time. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for THAT DAY. In this way I will test whether they will follow my instructions.’” Exodus 16:4
Jesus is saying much the same thing to us, and only a few verses later in this chapter in Matthew, Jesus warns us not to store up treasures on earth. Not only are these “treasures” susceptible to moth and rust and thieves, but they pull us from God. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21.
And again in Matthew 6 in verse 34 He cautions us about the danger of “stocking up”. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” One day’s worth of provision: food, drink, clothing. … more than enough…. for one day.
The clothes I have on right now, are enough. The dishes we used to eat our food and the food we ate today, well, we had enough. Does that mean I need to be content with what I now have? Or does it mean that I am to be content with what I have…today? Tomorrow may bring some greater blessing; a new house, new shoes, chicken instead of hamburger or steak instead of shrimp.
But for this day I can thank God for His provision, and tomorrow I can ask again.
What an adventure that would be. Each day asking and each day watching in amazement for the provision God provides. It is hard for me to picture living like that, probably because I have stored up so many treasures here on earth. My closet and pantry are already full and often I forget to ask God for my daily bread because I already have it covered, or so I think.
No wonder Jesus praised the widow who gave the mite at the temple. She had faith that she had enough for an offering…today. It was all she had, but she needed something to give and there was a mite in her pocket so she gave it. God would provide for tomorrow.
That’s faith. And that is the faith with which Jesus is telling us to pray. One day’s worth of provision at a time so that we say with the Psalmist, “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time.” Psalm 145:15