Give us this day our daily bread

The next part of the Lord’s prayer is a request that God will provide for us. It is a reminder that all good things come from God alone and that he is the one who provides for us and protects us.

At a practical level, this is a prayer that God will oversee conditions around us so that we are able to enjoy peaceful lives. There is nothing wrong with such a prayer.  It is as has often been pointed out a prayer for God to supply our needs, not our wants. It is also another example of a prayer where we need to take responsibility for our own part in the answer by committing to the work we are called to and by willingly sharing with others in need.

However, when we hit these words in Matthew’s Gospel, we cannot easily forget that only a few chapters back, Jesus had responded to Satan’s temptation by saying “Man does not live by bread alone.”  The urgent food that God provides is spiritual. The prayer includes a desire for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness to be fed with God’s Word. The prayer reminds us that Jesus is the bread of life and we are to feed on him.

Again, we cannot pray these words without at the same time re-committing ourselves to dwelling in God’s word and to being filled with the Spirit. Psalm 1 talks about the happy people who mediate on God’s Word day and night.

Pastors and elders have a particular responsibility to see that this prayer is answered by ensuring that the flock are well fed.

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