How God Meets Our Daily Needs
In the middle of Jesus’ model prayer, which we refer to as The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray “Give us today our daily bread”. (Matthew 6:11) That sounds like a pretty pedestrian petition doesn’t it? But what was Jesus really trying to teach us with this simple request? When was the last time you asked God to supply your daily bread? Maybe you’re staying away from carbs these days, so bread is not even in your diet! But with this simple ask, Jesus was actually teaching us a whole lot more!
In the opening verses of Jesus’ model prayer, we learn a lot about the character of God, not the least of which is that He is a loving, caring Father to His children. We can have an intimate relationship with Him. He is not aloof or far away. But at the same time, He is glorious and magnificent; His name is to be hallowed, or made holy!
In Matthew 6:11, Jesus makes a not-so-subtle shift in His prayer from the magnificence of our heavenly Father to remind us of how much we need Him on a daily basis. In fact, in this seemingly benign request, Jesus teaches us at least four vital truths.
1) We are totally dependent on our heavenly Father to meet our needs.
I spent some time this week reflecting on how dependent I am on my heavenly Father. I never want to forget that and I certainly don’t want to take Him for granted. Jesus teaches us to pray for our most basic need, daily bread. But not only do I need Him to provide my daily bread, I need Him to provide my daily wisdom, daily direction, daily encouragement, daily courage, daily forgiveness… and so much more. What do you need God to provide today? Have you asked Him? If God can provide your daily bread, and He does, there is so much more He can provide. (Luke 12:29-31)
2) Our heavenly Father cares about the minute details of our lives.
After opening His prayer focusing on the grandeur of our Father in heaven, Jesus shifts to focus on the trials and troubles we face in our own lives, sometimes even just trying to put food on our tables or provide for our families. Jesus is showing us that our heavenly Father cares about the stuff that’s on our plates everyday, whether it’s the dirty dishes piling up in the sink, the toddler that requires our constant attention, the transmission that just broke on our primary car, or the project that is due by week’s end!
Some people wrongly think that God is aloof and far away; that He is unconcerned and inattentive. But to be clear, God is near and He is always paying close attention to what you are going through in life. (Luke 12:24). You can be honest with our heavenly Father about your needs and trust that He can and will meet them, as only He can!
3) Praying for our daily needs trains our hearts to depend on God consistently, not just in times of need.
When I read this verse, I’m always aware of what Jesus doesn’t say here. He doesn’t ask the Father to provide our weekly bread, or our annual bread or enough bread for life. Why? Why does Jesus teach us to pray for only our daily bread? He does that for a couple of reasons:
Jesus doesn’t want our focus to be on riches or wants, but on what we need on a daily basis.
And truthfully, if we are brutally honest, that’s not really enough for us, is it? If it were up to us, most of us would rather have way more than we need! Riches and wealth tend to be our desire. But God doesn't want our primary focus to be on acquiring wealth; He wants our primary focus to be on deepening our relationship with Him, that is turning to Him, relying on Him daily.
Jesus wants us to rely on our heavenly Father daily, not weekly, or annually, or just once.
The picture that Jesus is painting here for us is to rely on God for what we need day by day, even hour by hour! It keeps us near to Him; it keeps us fully reliant on Him and faithfully trusting in Him. There is a beautiful example of how God cares for our daily needs in the Old Testament when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness during their 40 year journey to the promised land. If you haven’t read it, check it out in Exodus 16. God loves to care for our daily needs.
4) Praying for daily bread is a reminder of our daily need for Jesus.
God let the Israelites get hungry in the wilderness for a period of time before he sent the manna and quail to feed them (Exodus 16). Do you know why? God wanted to teach them an important lesson, which Moses reminded them of in Deuteronomy 8:3.
3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3
God let the Israelites go through some lean times. Why? To humble them. And from what the Bible tells us about their attitudes, their grumbling and whining, they needed to be humbled. And sometimes we do too! God may take us through a lean season to humble us; to show us that we need Him! The truth is, we all need Jesus, who is the Bread of Life. (John 6:35)
When we surrender our lives to Jesus, we will not be hungry or thirsty, not just physically, but spiritually. He fulfills us in every way. Jesus provides us with the spiritual direction and forgiveness we desperately crave in life, on a daily basis! We really can’t live without it and we can’t get it anywhere else. We need Jesus daily.
For much more, click here to listen to: Prayer Matters: Part 6 - Asking for Our Daily Bread.