Recognizing Our Need
We live in a very different context than people did in the first century. Give us this day our daily bread. Now, there are millions and millions of people in the world who have to rely on noticeably daily bread to come in. They may not know where their next meal is coming from and they live day to day.
Many other people—maybe most of the people who are watching this video—don't live like that. Or at least it doesn't feel like we live like that. We can go to any number of grocery stores and we can see shelves of food. For many of us, the problem is not that we have too little to eat; it's that we're eating too much. And so what does it really mean in a context where many people around the world are surrounded by great wealth and prosperity that we pray, Give us this day, our daily bread?
This is still a powerful reminder and a necessary prayer because even though we may see grocery stores around every corner, we still are dependent upon God to give us what we need. Haven't we seen this even in the last couple of years with various upheavals, supply chain issues, COVID, and inflation? We've actually seen empty shelves. We’ve seen how quickly, even in our very wealthy world, that we can be missing what we think we need. So we really do rely upon God.
And when he says daily bread, of course he means not simply bread or even simply food, but everything we need for this day. It's so instructive that Jesus tells us to pray, Give us this day our daily bread. If we're honest, I'd kind of like it to say, Give us this year our yearly bread. God, once a year I'll come to you. Can you set me up for the year?
He wants us to be reminded that his mercies are new every morning.
That's not how Jesus wants us to live. He wants us to be reminded that his mercies are new every morning. So every morning, we need to anticipate and we also need to pray that God would give to us new mercies, new grace. That's how God had the Israelites live in the wilderness. He said, I'm going to give you enough manna for this day, so don't go out thinking that you can cheat the system. You need to trust me. Wake up tomorrow and I'll provide for your needs.
And the Lord's Prayer reminds us of that. And Jesus enjoins us to keep praying that and see that God will give to us, not just food and sustenance, but everything we need to please him, to live for him day by day.
Kevin DeYoung is the author of The Lord’s Prayer: Learning from Jesus on What, Why, and How to Pray.
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Kevin DeYoung talks about our common struggle to pray and how the Lord's Prayer—the prayer that Jesus offered as a model for our prayers—can help us to pray to God day in and day out.