Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11)
Our short little passage this evening comes from Matthew chapter 6 and is commonly known to us as the Lord’s Prayer. I like many think it would have been better to title the passage the disciple’s prayer. Matthew 6:11 reads “Give us this day our daily bread.” I find it a simple request of our Lord to feed us daily. I am sure we need our daily bread but we must remember that our Lord also said: “It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) This is a good part of our daily prayer before our studying of God’s Word each day. We are not only asking Him to feed us with physical food but also to equip us with our daily need of His spiritual food. We must remember, and be fully aware, that we are in involved in a spiritual war “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) We must be fully armed and ready for our daily task of living in His Will for His Kingdom business that we are involved in. Our adversary awaits us and we need a daily dose of His powerful Word to defeat the enemy.
I find it significant that the Prayer begins with the words, “Our Father.” When I was a youngster not so many years ago I was completely dependent upon my father. He supplied all my needs and a lot of my wants. Because of him, there was a roof overhead, clothes on my back, and food on the table. My father cared for all my provision until the day came when I decided to do it my way and left the home. Children should go out of their parents’ home and make their way through life but they should not forget the lessons that their parents thought them. So I stumbled through trying to climb the mountains and falling into many valleys. Till I remembered the lessons that I received each day from my father.
I not only left home to live life as I pleased but I also left my Heavenly Father behind as well, or so I thought. God is never behind us, He is always ahead of us. It did not take me long to make a complete mess of my life and unfortunately, it took me a long time to admit it to myself and more humbling to admit it to my Heavenly Father. I see it this way that when I came into the world as a child of my father I was in a strange world. He guided me through until I left his care. After I went off to conquer the world my own way I slowly acknowledged that I am still in a strange world and do not understand it. I am not equipped to fight my battles like I once thought I was. I have to have my daily bread from my Heavenly Father in order to cope with the twisted world I have to navigate in.
Another thing is that we are asking for our daily bread. I am not saying that we should not have some vision and pray forward but more importantly, we should never forsake our daily need. We do not know what the next moment brings, how can we prepare for it? We can think we have all the bases covered but I have learned that we never will on our own. We need the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God Almighty to prepare the way that He has planned for us to follow. If we are not walking in the pre-planned footsteps of His Will, then we are traveling on sinking sand. As Children of the Heavenly Father, we are His dependents. What a marvelous security that is and what a scary thought not to be where He has planned us to be. Just go and ask Jonah. Our walk with God is a daily walk. The journey does not end in a day so we must prepare ourselves each day for our journey with Him.
It requires trusting in Him, it requires faith in His Word. Look at Elijah in 1 Kings 17:9-16. "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, "Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink." As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand." But she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die." Then Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. "For thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth.'" So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke through Elijah.” Elijah, the widow, and her son were not given an abundance but given their daily need. I’ve lived in abundance once. I had more money and things that I didn’t know what to do with it. Obviously, I squandered it as at the end of the time of abundance I had nothing to show for it. It is not this way for everyone, Praise the Lord, but my abundance lead me further down the road in sinful living. When we forget our daily need and dependency upon the Heavenly Father then He gives us over to our foolishness and eventually we find ourselves in dire straits. This is the Father’s world and what portion we receive of it comes from Him. Our Father is faithful and we should be faithful too.
There was an elderly lady who arose one morning and shook herself awake. I remember that my Grandmother did just that, when she rose from the bed she would shake off the sleep from her body. The lady then went to the cupboard and opening the door found it bare. It was so bare that even the box of De Con was empty. She closed the cupboard and went to the refrigerator and looked inside to see nothing but a half-empty jar of water and a stick of butter. She closed the refrigerator door and looked into the freezer. There she found only an ice cube tray full of ice cubes. She stepped back closing the freezer do and smiled and repeated, “This is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
The lady then walked back into her bedroom and took the pillow from her bed and went over to the open window. She laid the pillow on the floor beneath the window and slowly eased her knees upon it. With her elbows resting on the window sill she clasped her hands together and began to pray to her Father in Heaven.
“My Heavenly Father I have no food. I need bread. I need milk. I need eggs and bacon.”
Her neighbor across the yard, who was an atheist, heard her prayer and immediately went to the store and bought her what she had been asking the Lord for. He came home from the store and placed the provision on her porch, rang the doorbell, and went back to sit on his porch.
The elderly lady when hearing the doorbell closed her devotional book and went to the door to see who had come by to see her. When she saw the blessing that she had been given she immediately began to praise the Lord. When her neighbor heard her praising the Lord he came out and laughed at her and began to mock her saying, “Old Woman, “The Lord didn’t provide you with this food I did. No God in heaven gave you this food it was I you foolish old woman.” The elderly lady looked into his face and gave him a peaceful smile and again began to praise the Lord. “Oh Father,” she said lifting her hands towards heaven, “I thank you for the food which you have provided for me and Father I also thank you that you had the Devil himself deliver it to me.”
I find it comforting that in verse 13 we read, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13) When we are in need we can fall into all sorts of evil thoughts, and evil thoughts lead to evil actions. But if we turn our thoughts and prayers to our Heavenly Father He will lead us out of the temptation and deliver us from the evil of this world through His abundant provision of our physical and spiritual needs, each and every day. If we believe Him, trust Him. If we trust Him, then act on His Word in Faith. In prayer talk to Him and He will provide you with the abundant life.
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, 02/04/14