Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
One morning our younger kids decided to get up early and fix breakfast for themselves. Tired from a grueling week, my wife and I were trying to sleep until at least 7:00 a.m. on that Saturday morning. Suddenly, I heard a loud crash! I jumped out of bed and raced downstairs to find a shattered bowl, oatmeal all over the floor, and Jonas—our five-year-old—desperately trying to sweep (more like smear) the gooey mess off the floor. My children were hungry, but they chose not to ask for help. Instead of reaching out in dependence, they chose independence, and the result was definitely not a culinary delight.
In human terms, children are meant to grow from dependence to independence. But in our relationship with God, maturity means moving from independence to dependence on Him. Prayer is where we practice such dependent ways. When Jesus taught His disciples—and all of us who have come to believe in Him—to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11), He was teaching a prayer of dependence. Bread is a metaphor for sustenance, deliverance, and guidance (vv. 11–13). We’re dependent on God for all that and more.
There are no self-made believers in Jesus, and we’ll never graduate from His grace. Throughout our lives, may we always begin our day by taking the posture of dependence as we pray to “our Father in heaven” (v. 9).
What’s the “bread” you’re praying for today? How do you reveal your trust in God as you call out to Him?
Dear Jesus, You’re my Creator and my Sustainer. Please help me to trust in You.
Some Bible versions translate “babbling” (Matthew 6:7) as “vain repetitions” (kjv, nkjv) or “empty phrases” (esv), which means to repeat the same words over and over again as the gentiles (non-Jews) did. They did so to be noticed and to be viewed as righteous or pious. This calls to mind the prophets of Baal who called on their god “from morning till noon” but with “no response” (1 Kings 18:26). Jesus wasn’t condemning public prayer but prohibiting mindless, mechanical repetition. The hypocrites (Pharisees and others) proudly prayed like this “in the synagogues and on the street corners” (Matthew 6:5) so that people would see them. But while on earth, Jesus “offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission” (Hebrews 5:7). Unlike the ungodly prayers of the hypocrites, “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
Learn more about dependence on God through prayer.