Give us today our daily bread

John A. Braun

Daily bread! When we learned the meaning to the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer in Luther’s Catechism we memorized a list of the things included in daily bread. We also learned that God gives daily bread to all people. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded us that our heavenly Father “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).  

We are in the habit of saying prayers when we sit down to eat. If God gives even without our prayers, why pray for daily bread? Those prayers are regular reminders that all we have comes from a gracious and loving God.  

At times, we might find it difficult to be grateful when our customary blessings are interrupted and we are without. Then we worry. But Jesus reminds us not to worry. He pointed his disciples—and us—to the birds and the flowers. God feeds the birds each day and clothes the flowers so beautifully even Solomon might envy them. Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:32,33). 

To some he gives abundantly. To others he gives little. We don’t know why God gives some more than others. We can only face each day with the blessings he gives—much or little. God wishes to create thankful hearts in all of us—hearts that are not tied to the size of his gifts. 

But the idea of daily bread creates a question. Is there more to it than just being thankful? Why does God give us daily bread and allow us rhythmically to draw daily breath? For the evil and the unrighteous who receive sunshine and rain, life provides an opportunity to turn to the Lord and discover his boundless love in Christ.  

But life is not all sunshine. Sometimes God sends disaster, pain, or misery. With these he challenges both the righteous and the unrighteous to consider what Moses saw: Our days “are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). He embeds another truth in trials and disasters, “Here we do not have an enduring city” (Hebrews 13:14). That heavenly city awaits all believers in Christ.  

And when we count our blessings and note how richly he has blessed us, consider that God allows us to live as his disciples here. That means to show love and compassion—to love our neighbor as we love ourselves—and to use his blessings for others. The Macedonian congregation learned that lesson. Although they had difficulties and were in “extreme poverty,” their love for Christ “welled up in rich generosity” for those affected by the famine in Palestine (2 Corinthians chapter 8). We also have opportunity for generosity, compassion, and love. 

One more thing. We pray the Lord’s Prayer together in our worship. Certainly we ask for our individual portion of daily bread, but we also ask that our fellow believers may have their portion too. We pray for our daily bread. Among the reasons that we ask God to bless us all with daily bread is so that we might have the resources to carry out the work of his church. Each one contributes some of God’s blessings—some of that daily bread—in the collection plate. We share those blessings to proclaim our Jesus around the country and the world.  

It is well for us to pray, “Heavenly Father, give us today our daily bread.” 

John Braun is executive editor of the Forward in Christ magazine.


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Author: John A. Braun
Volume 104, Number 12
Issue: December 2017

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