After asking the Lord to grow his Kingdom, we are now encouraged to pray for what we need for our everyday living.
LD 50 q&a 125.
What is the fourth petition?
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
That is: Provide us with all our bodily needs
so that we may acknowledge
that you are the only fountain of all good,
and that our care and labour,
and also your gifts,
cannot do us any good
without your blessing.
Grant, therefore, that we may
withdraw our trust
from all creatures
and place it only in you.
In the first three petitions we focused on the Lord’s name, his kingdom, and his will. Because in the end, those are the most important things in the world. What we need most is God’s victory over evil, in every aspect of our lives.
But our faith is not a vague dream about something better that is coming. It is about our everyday living. In the last three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray for our everyday concerns.
First, give us this day our daily bread.
The word bread should be understood in the broad sense. Not just bread, but food and drink; and even “all our bodily needs.” Our bodies are not unimportant to God; they are part of who we are, part of God’s good creation. He has promised to give us what we need, and we may ask for it.
In the creation story of Gen. 1, how did the Lord provide for the bodily needs of people?
It is important that we pray this prayer, or something like it, often. Because it is easy for us to think that we are in charge of providing for ourselves. We work, we earn money, we buy food, and so on. By asking the Father in heaven about these things, we confess the simple truth: it all comes from him. Without his blessing, food would not grow, we could not do our work, and we would not be able to care for ourselves.
This fourth petition is very modest. It doesn’t ask for much. It does not ask: “Lord, give me enough food for a whole week.” Or: “Lord, help me find a job with a six-figure salary.” No: “give us this day our daily bread.” The idea is that of a soldier’s ration: here is enough to get by for one day. Tomorrow we’ll see again. Jesus taught us to be content with the little we have, and not to worry about tomorrow.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 5-7), Jesus famously spoke about not worrying about food, drink, or dress. Find the passage and summarize Jesus’ main argument.
(That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our work, or that we shouldn’t be smart about planning. The Lord gave us a brain to figure out how to be frugal, to find smart ways to earn our living. But caring for our livelihood is different from worrying about it!)
Read through q&a 125. According to the catechism’s answer, what is the most important thing we should learn from this petition?
All: Memorize q&a 125.