“Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11 NIV)
Independence. Just about everyone has a basic drive for independence. Perhaps it comes out as rebellion against authority. Or maybe as hyper-responsibility. We want to “make our own decisions” rather than being told what to do. Or we want to take charge and demonstrate to someone–ourselves, parents, teachers, mentors (someone!)–that we are self-sufficient.
Dependence. Prayer is an act of dependence. Prayer reaches out beyond ourselves. Prayer is an admission that we are not as self-reliant as we’d like others or even ourselves to believe. Christian prayer is a confession that we can’t make it on our own. Christian prayer is a declaration that we are God-reliant.
In the prayer Jesus taught us, our first petition for ourselves is so basic: “Give us today our daily bread.” Provision enough to last from morning to evening. Nourishment enough for the day. Simple. Basic.
If we cannot even provide for ourselves the food we need for one day, we really are in trouble! We must have need of God.
To pray for daily nourishment is to admit that we need God at the basic level of our very survival. We are completely and utterly in need of God’s power, grace, and provision. In this admission, we are doing at least two important things.
One, and most directly, we are asking God to provide for our needs. We have need. We know whom to ask. And we should.
Two, we are praying our way into a proper theological understanding of our relationship with God. As the old hymn says it, “I need Thee every hour.” We are not independent. We depend entirely of the grace and provision of God. It is good to get that fact straight. And pray for it.
Prayer: God, I need you. I cannot do this on my own. Everything I have has come from your gracious hand. So may I live today in humility and in gratitude. Amen.