Give us today our daily bread.~Small Catechism 3:13
What does this mean?
In fact, God gives daily bread without our prayer, even to all evil people, but we ask in this prayer that God cause us to recognize what our daily bread is and to receive it with thanksgiving.
Dear People of God,
When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray he gave them the Lord’s Prayer. We pray the daily Lord’s Prayer because we know that God delights to hear it and will certainly answer it. I recommend praying the Lord’s Prayer on a regular basis not only because God wills to hear it but also because it will drill into your bones the goodness of the Lord. Whenever you are afraid, anxious, or in danger is an especially good time to pray the Lord’s Prayer. But any time is also a good time. We must never think we are above praying something so simple and ordinary. We always need to be reminded of the basics of our faith, which includes the basics of prayer.
Among the petitions (or requests) prayed in the Lord’s Prayer is “Give us today our daily bread.” At one time this is a simple and complex request we make to God. Daily bread ends up being anything we need to sustain this body and life. That includes bread. (Any food we need is meant.) In order for our loaf of daily bread to get on the grocery shelf it first has to be planted. Grown. Harvested. Processed. Transported. That means our prayer for daily bread extends to the fields where our daily bread is grown. This prayer includes the earnest desire that God create a plentiful harvest so that all people may enjoy their daily bread. Good weather is needed. This petition includes fair wages and fair treatment for those who labor with their hands and sweat on their brow to get bread to our shelves. From the field to the grocery store there is much behind it and many hands involved to get people their daily bread. When we pray “Give us today our daily bread” we are also praying for anyone who is hungry. For the words “Give us” imply not just me by myself, but all my neighbors both great and small. We have the lovely promise of God that he indeed feeds all people “even all evil people.” Therefore when God calls you and me to provide bread to the needy (to be sure, he does call us to this task) we do not withhold our love no matter who it is.
Whenever we pray God wants us to pray with absolute confidence that he will hear us and answer us. Though we may not always see for ourselves the answer to our prayers. It is yet a promise that God will be faithful and “wants to fill our aprons full.” Nor do we pray because we think it will improve our standing with God. We simply pray freely in gratitude for all that God has done for us. Especially, for all that God has done for us in Jesus. It is not the prayer that makes you pleasing to God, but the prayer is pleasing to God because you have been reconciled to him in the Christ. He will certainly provide for you and keep you in his arms. Nothing in all creation can separate you from God’s love in Jesus Christ. In all affliction there is yet nothing can snatch you away.
Peace and joy,
Pastor Levi Powers
Mount of Olives Lutheran Church
Rock Springs, WY