What is the meaning of praying for our daily bread?
To pray for our daily bread most simply means to ask God to provide for our daily food and other necessities. The phrase is from the "Lord's Prayer" (Matthew 6:9–13; Luke 11:2-4).
When we pray for our daily bread, we acknowledge that everything we need to live this day is a gift from God (Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17). Daily bread includes not only our physical needs, but our spiritual, relational, and emotional needs as well. God cares for—and provides for—the entirety of our being, not just the welfare of our physical bodies. The concept of "daily bread" also harkens back to God's daily provision of manna for the Israelites (Exodus 16:4–12; Deuteronomy 8:3; John 6:31).
Without God and His gifts, we could not survive a single day. In Him, we live and breathe and have our being (Acts 17:28). Jesus upholds the entire universe in which we exist (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:16–17). The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the bread we eat are all dependent on the continuous graciousness of God. Every good and perfect gift is given to us by our merciful Heavenly Father (James 1:17).
When we pray for our daily bread, we are focused on the present. How much of our anxiety would disappear if we refused to dwell in the past or worry about the future (Philippians 3:13–14; Matthew 6:34)? By teaching us to ask for our daily bread, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of living in the present moment. God has not guaranteed any of us a tomorrow (James 4:13–14).
When we pray for our daily bread, we guard our hearts against greed and discontent (1 Timothy 6:8–9). By focusing on bread, our Lord is teaching us that we are to ask for what we need and not for the excesses our self-indulgent natures crave. We often overestimate our physical needs and underestimate our spiritual need (Colossians 3:2–3). We focus on the earthly to the neglect of the spiritual. The key to contentment is not having more stuff but treasuring Jesus above all things (Matthew 6:24–33; 13:45–46; Luke 14:26). The apostle Paul knew the secret to contentment was found in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:11–13).
When we pray for our daily needs we recognize our interconnectedness with fellow believers in Christ. We pray, give us our daily bread. By using the plural we are identifying ourselves as belonging to the church of Christ (the body of Christ – 1 Corinthians 12:12–27). There is no such thing as a lone ranger Christian. Therefore, we pray for our bread.
In summary, to pray for our daily bread means to ask God to provide for our needs today, recognizing that we are totally dependent on Him for life and all its necessities, and trusting Him to provide for us without worrying (Matthew 6:25–34).
God has already provided us what we need most—salvation in Jesus Christ. Romans 8:32 says, "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). We live in daily dependence on Him, trusting Him to meet all our needs and asking Him for provision for today.
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