Give us each day our daily bread
I often get hungry during church and our topic is daily bread today. So pass the bread bags around and help yourself to a slice or 2 of bread if you like. There is a gluten and dairy free bag of bread as well. No pressure to eat the bread but also don’t hold back. It’s there to be eaten.
My little boy Cecil is 1 and a half. If little Cecil is hungry he will let us know but pointing to the fruit bowl and saying more more more- this means he wants a mandarin. Or he will stand and point to the bread by the toaster and says to, to, to. Meaning he wants toast or bread- however it comes. If we aren’t fast enough for his liking or if we say not now, he will reach up with his little fingers and feel around until he feels the bread bag and ‘will pull it down. He will then help himself to a piece of bread which is called ‘to’. If he feels hungry he feels quite happy to help himself if its within reach. Waiting is not a virtue or something that is understood by one year old I’ve discovered.
When Jesus teaches us to pray in Luke 11 he says;
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
Give us each day our daily bread. 7 words. What do we mean when we pray these 7 words? Are we asking for literal bread? Are we asking for metaphorical bread?
When the Israelite’s had been gone from Egypt (their place of slavery) for a month they were in the desert and they were complaining dramatically about having no food.
Exodus 16:3-4 “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day.
They called the bread like stuff manna. Bread from heaven.
They had to go and physically pick up the manna off the ground each day. There was action, not just passively receiving but to receive what God gave they had to go and pick it up off the ground in the morning, before it melted away. They had to actually pick it up. They had to pick up the bread from heaven.
The story right after the Lord’s Prayer here in Luke 11:5-9 says this:
Luke 11:5-9 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you;
Shameless audacity- ask and it will be given to you. When Cecil asks for bread he has a shameless audacity about him. A boldness, it’s not a passive asking, it’s not a please may I have some, its a ‘I really want some and I want it now!’
When it comes to asking for our daily bread I think we are often complacent. I don’t think any of us will go without food today. We live in a well off part of the world. Give us today our daily bread doesn’t hold much urgency usually. I think we are to pray this with meaning, not complacency. We are to be bold and ask with shameless audacity. We are to ask for it and then go and pick it up. There is a physical picking up aspect to daily bread. Even when it fell from the sky they had to reach down and pick it up. They even boiled and baked it but they could also just eat it. And its no good just asking for it and picking it up if we don’t eat it. We have to actually eat it.
When we pray may it be more than words, like a little hand reaching onto the bench and searching for the bread bag. Reach up and ask, feel around for what is on God’s kitchen bench. It’s a bold prayer- give us.
Little Cecil isn’t being rude when he asks and takes if he can. It’s his house, he’s hungry it’s not disrespecting us taking food with out saying please first. Maybe that’s what its like with God- we are his children and part of his house, by our status we are allowed to have bread.
Although sometimes we say no to having bread. When its that hour or 2 before dinner or right before lunch we say no. Or else he wont eat his dinner. For his own good we say no because better is coming.
So what does this all look like in reality. If we are to pray with shameless audacity, if we are to pray and reach up to get what’s on offer, or reach down and pick up what God has given, and we need to actually do the physical act of picking it up and eating what has been provided as well ask asking. What does this look like what are we asking for?
They struggle to translate give us today our daily bread but the best consensus I could find about it was give us our ‘needs for the coming day’.
Maybe not physical bread but our needs. What do we need physically today? What do we need emotionally, mentally, what do we need spiritually today? What are your needs for the coming day?
In the first few months (or years) as a new parent getting sleep at night for long stints isn’t really a common occurrence for many. I know for me sleep became a need. It was no longer taken for granted. It became a need. And I realised I didn’t need as much as I thought. But I also wonder what would have happened if I had asked with shameless audacity rather than a passing passive prayer saying ‘please make him sleep’. I wonder what would have happened. Do we have the boldness to ask and reach up, as if to take bread off God’s kitchen bench top? Do we really ask and follow through with picking up what God provides or are we sitting at the table praying and waiting for God to put bread on our plate as we sit at the table? I’m not saying we should be greedy. But if we are hungry spiritually, if we are hungry emotionally, if we have needs that are not being met we can ask. We can ask not passively but boldly. Maybe spiritually you feel like you have only been living on crumbs for a long time. Or hoping to be fed enough on Sundays that you won’t have to eat during the week?
John 6:31-35 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Jesus is the bread of life. Give us Jesus. Give us relationship with Jesus to really live. We need Jesus for the coming day. To really live we need Jesus.
During my youth group days people would live from one Christian event to another. One Christian high to another usually in the form of camps, or holy spirit filled encounters. And while these things were great they were like romantic moments or even romantic weekends but they were not enough to sustain the every day life of being a Christian. Many didn’t last in their following Jesus. They didn’t have the daily bread. In hind sight it was like they were trying to live off eating desert occasionally and it wasn’t enough to sustain them. Spiritual highs, mountain top experiences we all need them but we can’t live off them alone.
Like romantic moments. When Cecil proposed to me it was romantic and wonderful but it that’s all our relationship was 8 years later it wouldn’t be much. If you had a God encounter so many years ago that’s awesome. Like a proposal I’m sure it was a highly important time in your life if you remember it years later. When Cecil proposed it was a great evening but enjoying the day to day life with him out weighs the proposal. What about in our spiritual lives. Is your day to day life with God sustaining a good marriage with God? Is your day to day life with God sustaining a good relationship or are you looking back on the good old days?
I have heard people talk about the charismatic renewal or charismatic movement time from the 1960’s onwards. And its as if they are trying to live off bread they got sometime last century. Sadly it’s stale now. I’m not saying its wasn’t a great time. It’s like all romantic times in the past, we remember them fondly but if we haven’t seen any romance or love since then we would be a bit depleted. It’s the everyday, normal life things that make a marriage work well. It’s the normal everyday things that make our relationship with God work as well. It’s a two way relationship. One where we are to pray give us today our daily bread. With shameless audacity we are to ask God for what we need. But not just asking we also have a part to play. That might be actually picking up your bible or phone to read some of the living word that’s been given to us. Or it might be listening to that still small voice in your head. When a Netflix episode finishes and you have this little reminder that tells you, you really should go to bed now rather than watching another episode. We need to be willing to pick up and receive what God is giving. Maybe someone asking how you are or if you need prayer for anything. Instead of saying yea I’m good, I’m fine, but thanks- when really you are struggling with life and you have been praying for support. We need to pick up and eat the bread God provides. It might seem plain, or it might not be the bread you were hoping for, it might look a bit different. But if God is giving us what we need we also have to be willing to pick it up and eat it. Maybe it’s a word of encouragement from someone and instead of receiving it we brush it away because we know better, we don’t receive the compliment or encouragement when God may have been giving it to nourish your soul.
The prayer says give us. Not give me but give us our daily bread. We are in this together. We are to be praying for what each other needs. We are to collect enough manna for our household so that each person gets their fill. Each person was allocated 2 litres or so. We are not just looking out for my needs the me, myself and I. We are reaching up to God’s kitchen benchtop and feeling around for bread for not just us but our family and friends as well. We are to pick up bread from heaven for others as well. Being generous with our time and money can be the bread from heaven for others.
God provides, are we timidly asking or are we boldly asking, reaching for, praying give us today our daily bread? Because we know we are children of the King who gives bread from heaven to fulfil our needs.
What needs do you have? What are your needs for the coming day?
What are the needs of those around you?
Will you pray with shameless audacity?
Will you receive what God gives?
Will you be active in picking up the bread from heaven that God offers? Whatever form that takes.
What might your prayer look like today?
What might your needs for the coming day sounds like?
How might you be picking up and giving out bread from heaven to others?
Pray give us today our daily bread. Ask with shameless audacity, pick up the bread God offers, eat the bread of life.