We’ve been praying the Lord's prayer in our services recently, and while it’s a very familiar prayer, sometimes when we pray it we might consider a line and go “What does that really mean? What did Jesus mean by that?” So we’ve been going line by line through this prayer. You can find the previous verses “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” and “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done” in previous posts.
Today we’re going to be discussing daily bread. “Give us this day our daily bread” seems pretty straightforward on the surface, and I don’t think what Jesus is saying is too complex. But there’s actually some mystery behind this line that we may not even realize.
Most translations say, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and we immediately think of that as, “Everything we need today, Lord we’re asking you for it.” But the word for “daily” in the Greek, has a long history of people scratching their heads over the word because it’s a Greek word that’s found nowhere else in the New Testament but in this prayer. It doesn’t clearly mean “daily.” Some historical translations have called it “Give us this day our super substantial bread,” trying to break apart the Greek word and figure out what it's saying. The most sense we can make of it is “daily” but I think it’s talking about something that, in its essence, comes from above. I think a lot of people pointed out that maybe there’s this harkening back to the idea of manna from heaven that we see in Exodus 16.
So if that is a connection that Jesus is making and that the Gospels are showing us in this prayer by using this particular, unique, Greek word, what might that tell us about what we’re saying? If you look at that story, what happened with the Israelites is that they were told to gather manna for the day, everything they needed for that day. But not to gather any more than they needed, because they were being called to trust that God would provide tomorrow. And those Israelites who wanted to have a backup plan just in case God didn’t show up the next day, they would gather an extra amount. What they found was that the manna that was enough for the day was fine, but whatever was leftover for the next day turned rotten, had worms in it, and it was bad bread. That was God teaching the Israelites to depend on Him and Him alone.
I think that brings an extra level to this prayer, when we pray, “give us this day our daily bread.” Saying, “God, I’m not just going to ask you, hoping you show up and make it easier on me. Otherwise, I’m just going to take care of things myself." That’s not the attitude Jesus is calling us to have. What we need to say is, “Lord, whatever I gather today is a gift from you, and I trust you every day. I trust you for tomorrow. I’m not going to worry about tomorrow." As Jesus says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, today is enough trouble for itself.” So when we say “our daily bread,” it’s all we need from the Lord. And we’re content to gather that and trust Him every day. That’s what’s at the core of this prayer. It’s shown beautifully in that line, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Every time you pray the prayer, remember to trust God with your whole heart, trust that he will provide, that He will give you everything you need for today, and that you can trust Him for tomorrow.