In Matthew 6, Jesus is teaching His disciples about prayer. It is in this chapter that we receive the Lord’s Prayer, which is a model of prayer for Christians to use. It was given by Jesus to help us understand how we may communicate with the Father. Not only does it show us how we may communicate with Him, but also that we can. However, more specifically, I have been brought to one specific part of the Lord’s Prayer over and over again for a few weeks, and wanted to share it and what it means.
“9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed by Your name
10 Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one,
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV)
I mainly want to look at the first part of verse 11, “Give us this day our daily bread…”
If you’ve been raised in church or in any kind of Christian atmosphere, you’ve likely heard this term thrown around for ages. I often times think people use it without truly knowing the depth of its meaning. We need to consider what daily bread actually is.
In the context of this passage, this prayer is being said in a time where bread was a food consumed quite regularly. In fact, bread was such a frequent part of the diet of most Israelites that they would sometimes just refer to it as food in the general sense. It was a means of getting through each day for some.
Jesus tells us we should ask to receive “daily bread.” However, not just any kind of daily bread. Rather, it is received from God. Now, let’s back up a bit to Matthew chapter 4, the scene where Jesus is being tempted by Satan in the wilderness.
“1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” ” (Matthew 4:1-4)
Jesus is speaking here about bread in the physical sense. He is saying that we, as humans, do not survive from eating food and drinking water. Not only do we live by bread (food) but also “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”. The implication here being that we cannot survive without living off of the Word of God.
“16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert. Most of us today could barely go a day without squabbling for food, however Jesus suppressed His physical needs in order to achieve spiritually. During this time, however, He became tired and undoubtedly hungry. He was walking through the hot and dry desert, where relief seems so far away. It was when He was tired that Satan came to tempt Him. And likewise it will be the same situation for you. Satan will scratch at you, tempting you when you are tired and worn down. When we are starving it is easier for us to give in and become ensnared by sin. It is a trap, a snare. Then after becoming ensnared, repeatedly, we are put under bondage and tortured by our guilt, shame, and our convictions.
So if Satan tempts us when we are hungry, how can we defend ourselves?
By being well-fed.
If we do not live on bread (food) alone, but also off of the Word of God, then that means we need to have a daily intake of it (daily bread). I know it may sometimes be tiring, especially if you are a person who doesn’t enjoy reading, however it is absolutely imperative for us to read our Bibles every day. God is telling us that His Word is sustenance. It is the same sustenance that will get you through life as strongly as possible.
I make it a practice to say a prayer as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. I thank God for waking me up and giving me another day full of opportunity. I always tell myself, if God had nothing for me to do today, He wouldn’t have woke me up. If He had nothing else for me to do for His kingdom here on earth, He would take me home now.
After praying, I make sure I read a passage from my Bible before my feet even hit the floor, out of bed. I make it a personal rule not to eat anything at all till I’ve read from the Word, as a reminder that it is from God alone I receive my sustenance, not food or water or anything physical or tangible on this earth.
I found that I have much better days when I’ve prayed than on those I hadn’t. I am pretty dumb as a person, given that I just can’t take a hint. Not from people, not from situations, not even from God. So it took me a pointlessly long time to figure out this simple truth. Praying and retaining the Word inside of you will improve your days. It might not give you good luck, and it might not give you a perfect life, but it will build your mind up to the point that bad things in life don’t bother you so much. You generally feel more happy, content, joyful, satisfied, etc. with your life. It is a massive relief.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)
Let’s rewind all the way back to Exodus 16. In this chapter, the Israelites are wandering in the desert, after having been recently released from Egyptian slavery.
“2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. 5 And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” (Exodus 16:2-5)
13 So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay all around the camp. 14 And when the layer of dew lifted there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.” (Exodus16:13-15)
The Israelites were in the wilderness. They were tempted to go back, to give in to temptation, because they were hungry. When you don’t get a regular intake of the Word, you will be substantially weaker than any other point of your life, and you will be easy prey for the devil. Very, very easy. Sometimes you may not even know you’ve fallen prey to him.
The Israelites had forgotten all God did for them, doubting He could do any more again. They looked back on their old life, wanting to turn around. However, God proved He could do more for them and rained bread from heaven.
At the root of the message, you have to prevent yourself from spiritual hunger by reading your Bible. Otherwise, you are weak. In your weakness, you sin. And in your sin, you die.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11)