In the first three requests of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask our Father for his concerns first: his reputation, his reign and his rule in our world. The remaining three requests turn to our needs. It is not selfish to ask God to provide everything you need. But we must let Jesus teach us what our real needs are. (Hint: a Porsche is not one of them!)
The first is a request for provision of our material needs:
Give us today our daily bread. (Matt. 6:11)
If you or I were writing a “theological” prayer, perhaps we would have begun with something which sounds more profound. But by beginning with such a simple, down-to-earth request, Jesus shows us the most important and basic attitude we need to have in prayer: an attitude of dependence on God in everything.
There is so much we need to learn and remember daily from this one short request! Our opinion of what we “need” often shows how shallow our faith is. In our society, people try to accumulate enough so that they will have security in their possessions, and will not need to depend on God or anybody else! We must struggle against this mindset. There is a place for responsible saving, with godly aims for how we will use and share the resources God entrusts to us (Prov. 6:6-11; 2 Cor. 9:10-11). But greed is a terrifying danger, because it erodes our sense of depending on God.
In Jesus’s world, the average worker was only able to buy food for the next day. But his biggest concern for them was not that they build up a savings buffer. It was that they trust completely in God for each day’s bread.
But there is an even more important lesson we need to learn from this request. It’s that the God we pray to cares deeply for you. He cares about every aspect of your life, and he is generous and good! Jesus said:
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Lk. 12:6-7)
Spend some time thinking about the material needs you are worrying about at the moment. Some may be valid and important. Others may be quite worldly. Whatever they are, talk to your Father about them. It may help to read and meditate on Jesus’s teaching in the verses below.
Throughout the day, notice and thank God for the things you need which he provides. And perhaps he will use you to supply “daily bread” for somebody else! Be on the lookout for an opportunity.