On Sunday, Graham continued his series on Prayers of the New Testament, speaking about the phrase “Give us today our daily bread.”
Prayers of the New Testament, Part 4
Give us this day our daily bread
Matthew 6:9-13 (New International Version)
9 ‘This, then, is how you should pray:
‘“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
1 Give us
The prayer turns at this point.
After the opening phrases that were God-ward this is now about lifting our needs before God. Is this a pattern to follow, starting with worship followed by requests? It is my habit that I start prayer with worship and thanksgiving. I find it places me in the right context as I have enlarged my understanding of God in worship and deliberately placed myself before, but below, him. The old way of speaking of this was to say we place ourselves “at the foot of the cross”.
Dependency! Bowing low, we ask.
I have been using this phrase in prayer this week. I been repeating it as a means of meditating on it and as a prayer. Not about bread literally, but about provision generally. Not about a particular need, as though short of money, but about all my needs and acknowledging that God is the source of all I have and all I need.
Some may boast, “I built my business from nothing and nobody helped, nobody else helped, I worked for all I have.”
I want to acknowledge that all I have and all I am comes from him, every opportunity, every “chance” encounter, the strength of my body, the skill of my hands, the function of my mind. I depend upon God for my next breath and my next heartbeat.
“Fool for tonight…”
Question: Who is “us”?
It is interesting that it is given by Jesus in the plural.
Who are the “Us”? The praying group? The community? The nation or globe?
Was it intended by Jesus to be used by a gathering of believers? Is it a prayer for an individual for the church? Is it a prayer for all people of the earth? Perhaps it can be used in all these ways.
In our culture, and that of Jesus, sums up what we mean by our necessary food. If Jesus had been in another culture he may have spoken of rice or banana.
Some people pray this as a prayer for spiritual nourishment as well. Jesus spoke of being the Bread of Life.
4 Daily Bread
For centuries Christians read this passage without knowing a detail we how have.
The word in Greek is epiousios. It is a rare word and is not used anywhere else in the New Testament. It turned up in the remains of a housekeeper’s book found in Egypt. From that we know it was the amount of daily food given to slaves, soldiers and labourers (from Prayers of the New Testament by Donald Coggan, page 33).
It is the portion set aside for each and is that person’s allotted portion.
So my prayer is a request that the portion that bears my name be released to me. No more, no less, but what is sufficient.
“Anxious for tomorrow..” sermon on the mount.