Praying For Provision
Read Matthew 6:11 (ESV)
“Give us this day our daily bread…”
Yesterday, we established that we should be primarily focused on God’s kingdom. Does that mean God is unconcerned with our earthly, physical needs?
The past few days, we’ve been studying the example that Jesus gave to His disciples about how to pray. We have already established that Jesus modeled keeping our prayer priorities straight. In what we now call “The Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus first asked God for three things: for His name to be respected as holy, for His kingdom to come, and for His will to be done (Matthew 6:9-10). In the first three petitions Jesus made, His focus was on God’s priorities.
But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care about our immediate earthly and physical needs and that doesn’t mean that we can’t ask God to provide for those needs. In today’s verse, Jesus does just that. He asks God to provide for our physical needs. In this case, Jesus asked God to “give us this day our daily bread.”
Jesus modeled a dependence on God for our earthly needs. He mentioned bread but it is obvious that we have more needs than just bread. We need shelter, we need clothing, we need water, and we need food beyond just bread to meet our nutritional needs. So when we think of our “daily bread” we should be thinking of all of our basic everyday needs. Does God provide for all of these? Yes.
In Matthew 6:25-26, Jesus said: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” The message here is that no matter, God provides for us because we are valuable to Him.
When I read today’s verses, I am reminded of the account in Exodus 16 of the manna or bread from heaven. When the Israelites were hungry in the wilderness, God provided for them. He gave them bread in the morning and quail for meat in the evening. But they were not given more than just a day’s provision. If they tried to keep some for the next day, it would spoil. Except on the day before the Sabbath when they would be able to keep enough for two days.
The point is that we depend on Him every day whether we realize it or not. By not allowing them to store up food, the Israelites were reminded every day of their dependence on Him. But most of us no longer live day to day for food, drink, shelter, or clothing. As a result, it is easy for us to forget our dependence on Him for our daily needs. Joshua 5:12 records that after the Israelistes took over the land of Canaan, the manna stopped. The Promised Land was a land of abundance which God had provided for the Israelites. But because the land that God had given to them had all that they could ever need, they quickly forgot their dependence on God.
Today, many of us have more than we need stored up for several days, months, or even years at a time. Praise God for His provision in all of that! But we shouldn’t forget that it is God who has met our needs.
Jesus didn’t model praying to be blessed with abundance. He modeled praying for our daily needs to be met. He demonstrated contentment with what we are given and a daily acknowledgement that what we have is from God’s hand.
Friends, we can see from Jesus’ prayer that God cares about our everyday needs. We can ask Him to provide for us. Remember, Jesus started His prayer with “Our Father.” In Matthew 7:11, Jesus said that even earthly fathers know how to take care of their children, “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Our Father in heaven cares about our needs here on earth. We can ask Him to provide for us and we can trust with confidence that He will.
Father, thank You for giving me every good thing. I know that whether I am in abundance or just getting by day to day, I depend on You. Please continue to meet my daily needs and to share any extra with others in Your name. Amen.