Our Daily Bread
In Matt 6:11, Jesus teaches us to ask God, our Father, “to give us this day our daily bread”. It is rather an amazing petition given that we, the creatures, are giving a command to our Creator and Father to meet our daily needs! This would be presumptuous except for the fact that God really is our Father. The truth is that we do rely on the Father for everything and this petition is an acknowledgement of that reliance. When we ask for that daily bread, it really is an expression of our trust that God will provide for us. Only children could be so bold!
Jesus talks about the dynamics of prayer just before giving us the Lord’s Prayer. He shows that we pray to God out of our conception of God. Jesus first points to a false understanding of God where we try to enlighten Him about our needs, using lots of words, hoping to convince Him to act for us (Matt 6:7). This attitude is false because it sees God as little more than an ill-informed deity who can be controlled by our verbosity. By way of contrast, Jesus reveals the true nature of God. He is a caring and all-knowing Father. He already knows our situations: “For the Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matt 6:8) We must get rid of the idea that we are informing God about our situations. If we could but realize what Jesus is teaching here, our whole experience of prayer would be radically different. Prayer is not about words, but about trust. It is not a con game to get God on our side. He already is! Prayer is the opening up to the reality of who God is.
Once we know that God knows all about us and our needs, our anxious restlessness departs from us. We have a Father who is already working things out for us. In prayer we are reaffirming the truth that God really is our Father and that we can trust Him. This is not based on our feelings; it is based on reality- regardless of our feeling. We do not ask for the provision of our needs in anxiety but in trust and security. In praying the Lord’s prayer we are saying, “Lord, You already know all my needs that I am so desperately anxious about. I give them to You. You know my needs better than I do and You know the best way to answer them. I give all my needs to You knowing that You are working each thing out in ways I cannot even imagine. I know that Your provision will suffice. I know and trust in You because You are my Father.” We can truly ask for our ‘daily bread’ because that is what a good father always does: he provides for his children.