We continue on with Jesus Christ’s exemplary lesson on prayer: give us today our daily bread. These ninety words in Matthew 6 are to form the model for all of our prayers. Jesus begins this prayer by addressing God as our heavenly Father saying that he alone is to be praised as “hallowed.” Our God is a jealous God who will not give his glory to another. Christ then leads us to see that we are to seek God’s kingdom here on earth. We are to desire his will more than our own. Thus, if God is indeed our father, and if He is the ruler of the mightiest of all kingdoms, it is only fitting that we ask him for our daily bread! But note the precision of Christ’s teaching: give us today our daily bread. God is the One who determines whether or not we will be here tomorrow. So our profound need for care is acknowledged in asking for the basics of life for today. As James teaches, it is well and good to make careful plans, but it is even more significant to realize that those plans will only be carried out if God wills it to be so. Having just acknowledged our need that God’s will be done, it is utterly consistent to ask God for the things we need each day—the things we need in order to do his will.
When you begin each day with your family, you will, no doubt, have an abundance of things to accomplish ahead of you. Jesus says to seek God first for these basic needs of life: give us today the bread that we need. Just a few lines later in this pivotal sixth chapter, Jesus himself provides rich commentary on these words. Look at verses 31-34:So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Christ sums up this chapter confirming the reality of the prayer he has just taught to his disciples. Three times, (in verses 25, 28, and 31), Jesus commands that we do not worry about our daily needs. If God’s kingdom is our treasure (19-21) and we desire his will to be our own, and we believe he is who he says he is, then worry is out of step with the truth of the Lord’s Prayer. My heavenly father will give me what I need today to serve him today.
So, based upon Christ’s instructions, your morning prayer with your children could be something like this:
Dear holy, heavenly Father, you have given each of us a lot to do today. We have school and other work to do, we have appointments and practices to go to, we need food to sustain us, and we need your protection as we travel about. Help us not to worry about these things, but cause us to praise you in all that we do today. By your grace, may we seek your kingdom first in all that we do. Right now, this day, may we serve you. If you bring us into tomorrow we will deal with that then. Please father, give us what we need today, our daily bread, so that we can serve and honor you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
This prayer takes about 35 seconds to pray out loud. Surely, you have this much time to ask your heavenly father for your daily bread.