Prayer, Plain and Simple

“Give us today our daily bread”


What’s for breakfast? That’s an important question, one of the most important questions in our family, and probably in yours too. Jesus said we don’t live by bread alone – we also need nourishment for the spiritual elements in our lives – but we do need real food. We have bodies and we must care for them. God knows this, and he invites us to ask him to carry the load of responsibility for supplying these practical needs. We can pray for breakfast.


According to the book of Exodus when Moses led the Hebrew slaves from Egypt to freedom God began covering the ground around their camps each morning with a miraculous food called “manna.” Manna means, “What is it?” in Hebrew because on the first day Israel had no idea what the stuff was. God promised the Jews that he would supply manna every morning and he warned them not to horde more than a single day ration: He wanted them to trust him!


When Jesus invites us to pray “Give us today our daily bread” he is harkening back to God’s proven faithfulness with Israel in the desert. “God is Provider” is one of God’s names.  And in this plank of the prayer we challenge God to make this general promise for provision personal and specific for us. We are urged to ask!


Jesus reinforces this same point on several occasions. In the Sermon on the Mount, the same section of Matthew where the Lord’s Prayer is recorded, Jesus tells his followers “Ask and you will receive” (Matthew 7:7).  He dares us to dare God to meet our most practical necessities. 


Taking this challenge to heart we can amplify this prayer phrase by “muttering” to God our own list of needs and desires. “Father, your name is Provider.  So I am coming to you with these real needs that are pressing today… Please give me wisdom as I talk with Charlie about the contract.  And give me courage as I confront Margie.  Please provide the finances we need for Jared’s college bills… Thank you that you have always answered our needs in the past.”  


Bold. Specific. Simple. Our requests for “daily bread” are predicated on numerous promises God has made to provide for those who trust him. By anchoring our prayers onto these promises we can come to God not begging, but appealing specifically for what he has already allocated.


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