Our Father, which is in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. Why does this prayer seem to zero in on meeting our needs only one day at a time?
Well, first let's take a look at the most obvious interpretation of daily bread. We need food to fuel our bodies and keep them going, and we are dependent on God for that food. He created the Earth and all its various plants and animals. We would not have food, if God had not placed it on this planet. When we say grace before we eat, we ought to keep this in mind.
Some people take the glory to themselves for what has been provided for them because they earned the money to buy, but if there was no food to buy, and if God had not given them the strength, the intelligence, and the opportunity to work, they would be stranded.
Next, we each need to be able to appropriate that food, which generally is obtained through employment, wherein pay is received and then exchanged at the market for food. Encompassed in this part of the prayer is that we look to God for the ability to acquire food through honest and honourable means.
That not only means provision through employment or donation, rather than theft or by selling one's body, but also not compromising our godly values for our employers in any way. We trust that God will help us stay employed at our jobs, even when we do the right thing rather than the convenient thing, or help us get another job, if we have to leave it because it requires us to be unethical, or if we get fired because our integrity is inconvenient to the company.
It is the Lord's provision we need, not the devil's blessing. The Bible says that the blessing of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow to it; the devil always takes very big bites out of those to whom he extends favours, and they end up with huge deficits that have eternal consequences.
There is a lot more addressed in this part of the prayer than merely the issue of God providing for us and our families three meals of healthy food each day. It fans out to encompass trust on many different fronts.
It also expands to cover situations where food is not available for sale to anyone, such as during a famine or when food is confiscated by a totalitarian government. God is not limited in any situation. He provided manna for the Israelites in the wilderness and Yehoshua multiplied bread and fish to feed multitudes.
I had a really awesome dream along those lines one time. I saw someone at the front of a church with a paper bag in his hands. It held one solitary bagel. He pulled the bagel out of the bag and tore it in half. Both halves of the bagel grew, and when it did so, it was warm and fresh and tasted delicious. He gave one of the bagels to someone, and tore in half the one he still held, and the halves again grew into a whole bagel. I thought, "Oh! So that is what it looked like when Jesus broke the bread." It was so cool.
I have heard of that miracle happening in modern times, as well. A woman who ran a street mission with her husband experienced it. They had a Bible study at the mission one morning with nine Bible college students. At noon, she went into the kitchen to get her husband's lunch for him. The only food they had in the entire place was some leftovers she had been keeping warm for him in the oven, which consisted of some mashed potatoes and dried out meatloaf, besides a bit of lettuce in the fridge.
The woman felt bad at the idea of sending the students away at lunch time without giving them anything to eat. She told her daughter that they would feed everybody, even if it was only a tiny bit of food for each. They took out twelve plates and she began to scoop the potatoes on each plate.
As she did so, what plopped onto each plate was a nice, big mound of mashed potatoes, far more than what was in the pot. Likewise, for the meatloaf, and it was not dried out, but moist and tasty. They were able to go another round of giving everyone another big scoop of mashed potatoes. They also tore up the bit of lettuce they had and placed a piece on each plate, but the pieces all together were bigger than the lettuce they started off with. They all had a wonderful lunch, rejoicing in the miracle of how God provided it for them. God sure is fun, eh?
And who has not heard of how God kept George Muller's orphanages continually supplied with food? His biography tells of how one morning when there was no food in the place, he had the tables all set for breakfast, then they bowed their heads and thanked God for providing food for them. Right after that, there was a knock on the door. A milk cart had broken down right outside the orphanage, and the milkman asked them if they would take the milk off his hands before it spoiled, so that he could take his cart away to get it fixed. On his heels was another visitor, bringing loaves of fresh bread as a donation. Praise the Lord!
Even if food is poisoned, God can make it good. The students who were with Elisha gathered food during a famine from the area where they were situated. Someone found herbs and some gourds that got chopped up and tossed into their pot of food, but the gourds were poison. They didn't know until they started eating the food and people instantly got stomach cramps and other symptoms. God showed Elisha a prophetic sign, which was performed. The poison was instantly neutralized and the food made fit to eat. The waters of Jericho were healed in a similar way.
There is simply no end to how God can supply fuel for our bodies. The Bible talks about how He delivered food to Elijah through crows and through an angel who cooked for him; the supernatural bread and water he was given kept him going for forty days. Also the Bible tells us that God multiplied oil and meal for a widow, and it supplied food for her household for as long as the famine lasted.
God can even download into our bodies directly, bypassing the physical product all together. I have heard of Him doing this in modern times, and it is in the Bible. Moses went for eighty days without food. You will recall he was on the mountain for forty days, came down and saw the big orgy that was going on, broke the tablets of the Law, kicked butt, and then returned to the mountain right away for another forty days to get another set of tablets.
We can't expect, though, that God is going to lay out gourmet meals for us just presto zip when we pray for our daily bread. Sometimes God's way of meeting this need is to give us more ingenuity. Proverbs 13:23 says, "Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for lack of judgment."
Probably the first step towards exercising ingenuity is to not waste anything. Yehoshua multipled bread and fish, but He said to gather up the fragments so that nothing is wasted. He does not like waste; it demonstrates a lack of appreciation. I was appalled one time when I was in the church kitchen several years ago, and the pastor's wife was about to dump a large bowl of seasoned rice into the garbage; it was left over from our potluck. I stopped her just in time and took it home.
We may think that everybody in our church has enough food, but it is not always so. Keeping some plastic storage containers on hand in the church kitchen is a good idea, so that leftovers can be divvied up and left on the counter afterwards for anyone who wants them. We don't have to buy special containers; just wash out empty yoghurt and cottage cheese containers and bring them to the church, when the church sends out a call for them.
Or stick the leftovers in the fridge for the church staff to eat for their lunches, or to give to street people who show up during the week looking for handouts. Here is the Scripture in John 6:12 pertaining to not wasting food: "When they were filled, he (Yehoshua) said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." We are His followers, aren't we? Then let's pay serious attention to what He said and obey Him. Why should He answer our prayers asking for provision, if we are careless about what He gives us?
We should also educate ourselves as to what plants in the woods and fields are edible, not only so we can be a useful source of information to others in times of famine, but also to supplement our diet with truly healthy food in times of plenty. There are probably more vitamins in things that can be gathered from yards and fields and woods, as long as they haven't been sprayed with chemicals, than the food we buy in the store.
One time when I was earning very little money and did not have much for buying groceries, I asked the Lord to show me how to put more nutrition in my diet. I was lying on the lawn in the backyard of the place where I lived, with my three–year–old grandson sitting next to me. He picked a dandelion and held it out to me, interrupting my worried thoughts. My eyes focussed and then fastened on the dandelion. There was the answer to my prayer! My brother had told me that every part of the dandelion is good for food. In Italy, they are not considered weeds; they are grown as cash crops.
Dandelions taste yucky, but they are packed with vitamins. When I eat dandelions, I like to get it over with really fast. I dig up young plants with the root, wash them well, then grind them in a spice mill. This leaves me with a couple spoons of green mush, which I quickly gulp down, followed by some large swallows of water. It really perks me up; it is best for me to take my dandelions in the morning, so that I don't stay up too late at night.
There is all sorts of stuff all around us that can be gathered for free and added to our diets to stretch our groceries, or to save money that would be spent on groceries. Go to the library and borrow some books on local herbs, nuts, berries, and roots, and experiment to find tasty ways of serving this stuff, if it cannot be eaten raw. Raw is best because heat reduces food's nutritional value. More nutrition results in fewer medical bills.
Daily bread is not only food; it is also anything we need to equip us to do God's will each day. And it is asked to be supplied daily as a reminder that God has not called us to lay up treasure on Earth, but in Heaven. This world is not our Home; we are just pilgrims passing through. That is why we are to pray daily for what we need for each day.
God has not called us to hoard, but to share. I once read a book that was written for Christians as advice to prepare for coming tribulation. The writer advised planting gardens in the mountains, well shielded by vegetation from prying eyes, and to keep weapons on hand to guard the gardens against other people.
I stopped and thought about that. He was recommending that we keep the food for ourselves and our families, and kill other people who will not take no for an answer when they came begging. That totally runs contrary to what Yehoshua commanded us about feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty.
If there is no way for people to earn their bread, and they will starve unless we share, we need to have faith that God will keep on meeting our needs, regardless of what we give away. It is just plain murder to shoot people in such circumstances.
It would be better to die of starvation than kill someone and send their soul to Hell, so that we can eat for another day or week or year. If we truly know the Lord, we will go to Heaven when we die, so if He sees fit to let us starve to death, we can look to Him to supply us with the daily bread of bearing it with patience and faith. Then we get to go to Heaven where we will never be hungry again. Hallelujah!
Daily bread also encompasses fresh revelation from the Word of God each day to feed our souls, as well as the ungirding of God's Spirit. The Israelites gathered fresh manna each day when they wandered in the wilderness. Except for when they gathered it double for the Sabbath, it went rotten and wormy if it was left overnight. Each person's portion was meant to be entirely eaten each day.
Getting spiritual food is meant to obtained each day, and not ignored. Ignoring what the Word says is like letting manna sit overnight. It will backfire on us if we are not obedient to the Word. Exodus 16:19 & 20, "And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was furious with them." It sounds like this was a serious matter.
The New Testament bears this out where it tells us that those who are hearers only of the Word, but not doers, are like those who build their house on the sand, and when the storms come and the rain beats against the house, it falls and great is its ruin.
We have progressed from seeing that Daily Bread relates to natural food, to whatever we need in order to do God's will each day, to spiritual food. The final part to me is the Bread of Life, Yehoshua. When I pray the Lord's Prayer, my mind usually just skims over those first three parts. I live in a land of plenty and I have money to go buy food. Most of the time, I don't seem to have any particular needs, though I am believing God for several things of a material nature. Since He has not supplied them, yet, I figure that His will for me this day does not involve having those things, yet.
I lean into the prayer more in regards to gaining spiritual insight, but what I want the most is Him. I want God's Presence. I want to feel connection with Him. As Moses said to the Lord, he didn't care about being successful, if he could not have God's Presence. He preferred to stay put right where he was and not go to the Promised Land, if God's Presence did not go with him.
What would be the point of having all the material things one's heart could desire, but not have God's Presence? Living in a palace would be misery without God's peace and joy in my heart. When I pray for my Daily Bread, my foremost thought is that I want to feel God come near me. I want to lean on His bosom. I want to dance with Him among the stars. I want to enter into the chambers of His heart. I want to always be aware of Him in my thoughts throughout the day.
I am still at a juvenile stage in this regard, but I feel Him reaching out towards me as I reach towards Him, and bringing my soul into His Presence. I do not want my Saviour to be far from my thoughts. I want His companionship throughout the day. To me, this is the most important part of my Daily Bread, and I hope it always will be.
Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
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Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on June 17, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.