Give us This Day our daily Bread. Matthew 6:11
Since the beginning of time, bread, in all its various forms, has been the most widely consumed food in the world. Bread is present in all the critical moments of human life. It is used in religious services, in family gatherings, at weddings, and all other important celebrations. It is one of the oldest human-made food, dating as far back as 30,000 years ago.
In today’s text, Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” For those struggling with food insecurity, this prayer is particularly poignant as it captures their daily struggle for survival. In this world of plenty, millions starve—many of whom are children. Many people lost their jobs because of COVID-19, and are forced to say, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Those who are impacted by unjust systems or structures, poverty, unemployment, or lack of access to clean water and daily bread, they wake up every day asking God for their daily bread. This prayer may not be as significant to those who do not suffer from food insecurity. Many of us who are living in the affluent western world where we can go to the grocery stores to buy food 24 hours per day, we do not necessarily seek God for our daily meals. Yet we have to intercede for our brothers and sisters whose struggle we share, and whose pain we have to help them bear.
The prayer was not just a request for bread to eat. Jesus knew the disciples' needed daily fellowship with God. During communion, many Christians eat bread to fellowship with God and with one another. Here, the language of the prayer is a request for God to commune with the disciples daily. In Genesis 18, Abraham used bread for hospitality when the three angels visited him.
During this season of social distancing, we mainly need God to commune with us daily, as we make ourselves hospitable to his Holy Spirit. Many brothers and sisters are forced to stay at home alone. As members of the body of Christ, we need to pray that God will give the lonely and abandoned their daily bread of his presence.
Indeed, my prayer is for God to give daily bread—presence, or emotional, or spiritual sustenance—to those in nursing homes or senior centers as well. I pray for God to give daily bread to nurses, doctors, and other people in the medical field who are in the front line trying to stop the coronavirus pandemic. Our prayer should be for God’s comforting presence to sustain them daily.
The prayer for daily bread is also a prayer for the unsaved to enter into a covenantal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the bread of life. Whoever comes to him will never go hungry (John 6:35). “The grain offerings and the bread on the altar in the Old Testament were part of the covenant symbols between God and the Israelites. Jesus, when he broke bread and shared wine at the Last Supper, said, “This is the new covenant...” (Luke 22:20). In the Bible, faith, bread, and relationship are all connected.”
We should continue to pray this prayer, whether we are living in prosperity or poverty. That prayer captures the yearning of our hearts for daily fellowship with God, and for spiritual nourishment from the Holy Spirit. It is an urgent prayer through which we also express our longing to remain hidden in God through Jesus Christ, every day. More specifically, those words affirm our dependency on God, who supplies all our needs according to his riches in glory.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, we pray for daily for those who are food insecure or spiritually malnourished. May you nourish their bodies and their souls through your Holy Spirit.