Monday, March 30, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 36: Daily Bread

And He said to them, "When you pray, say: ' Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 'Give us each day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:2-4 NASB)

We come now to the phrase "give us each day our daily bread". The word here for daily is epiousios, and Strong's explains it to mean "for this day and the next". The idea here is that God will provide enough for today and tomorrow, so that we will not be fearful today about what we will need tomorrow. For one who has a tendency toward concern for tomorrow before I've begun today, this is the kind of provision that gives me great comfort. It's provision that allows me to enjoy the gifts of today, knowing that tomorrow is also secure.

This kind of prayer for "daily bread" is not a prayer for champagne and caviar. This is a prayer for what is necessary, not what is extravagant. It is not a request for wants, but for needs. I have a sad history of many wants (and of obtaining those wants), most of which have nothing to do with needs. When I rein in my requests to that which is necessary, it allows me to leave the extras to my Heavenly Father, who is far more generous than I could ever deserve. 

When I truly ask for my "daily bread", I begin to focus on my needs rather than my wants. I've found that the things I have accumulated take on a different light, as well. Not everything I've accumulated is something I still need, and many of these things could better serve someone else. There is great freedom in passing items that are still serviceable to someone who can use it. 

There is something very interesting about the word translated here as bread. According to Thayer's, this is the word for bread made from flour and water. It is the thickness of a thumb and baked in a round cake about the size of a plate. This bread is to be broken, not sliced, and is the same word used to describe the bread eaten at the Last Supper, the bread about which Jesus said, "This is my body, broken for you." It is also the same word Jesus used when He said, "I am the bread of life." (John 6:35)   In a way, when I pray "Give us this day our daily bread," I am also asking that I have all the spiritual sustenance I need. It is a request for as much of Christ as I will require, as well.

May God give us each day the spiritual and physical sustenance we need. This week, let's make a conscious effort to focus on both our spiritual and physical needs, remembering that the provision for both come from God alone.