Give us this day our daily bread...
Christ has begun his model prayer with establishing the goodness, greatness, and supremacy of God, and our need to seek his perfect will for us. Now he models supplication. We are told in scripture to ask God for our needs and desires. Notice in Jesus’ prayer, he asks for bread for “this day.” Like the manna given to the Israelites in the wilderness, we are given what we need on a day to day basis.
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus tells his hearers, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” Though the father promises a sure hope for tomorrow, he gives us provision sufficient for today. I have returned to this truth time and again when I am experiencing a trial, often praying the line from Thomas Chisholm’s beloved hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness, “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow….” The past is to be learned from, the future is for hope, but we must choose to serve and glorify the Lord in the present, “…as long as it is called Today” (Hebrews 3:13).
Christ tells his hearers in John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” I have to admit, when I was younger, before I really knew Christ, this verse was a stumbling block for me. I had asked God for plenty of things, and was denied many times. But as I told my children over and over when they were young, God is not a wishing genie. James 4:3 exhorts, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
The beautiful thing about drawing near to God, recognizing his love for us, his holiness, his absolute goodness, is that the closer we get to him the more our will aligns with his. Not because of anything we have done, but because of the indwelling of his good Spirit. Let’s face it, he knows us better than we know ourselves, and though sometimes our “daily bread” is dry or crusty, it is exactly the nourishment we need for our sanctification. Sometimes we get bread spread with sweet comfort, and sometimes we get the bread of adversity. Either way, if we are in Christ, we will receive the portion and type for whatever we need today.