In our five-part series on The Lord’s Prayer, we come to the gifts God gives us every day when Jesus asks us to ask for our daily bread. The exact phrase:Give us this day our daily bread.
Why would something so basic be mentioned in a prayer so epic? After all, we have started this prayer by wrapping our minds around how amazing and powerful our Abba Father is and that He is in heaven. We quickly move on to establish the fact that no matter what we want or say in our prayer to Him we want it settled from the beginning that we only want His will to be done like it is in heaven. So why stoop so low as to discuss the things of earth such as our daily bread?
Here is where this prayer focuses on the earthly realities that we all face. Jesus teaches us to be so intimate with God that we ask Him for our daily bread. Though He indeed is a holy God who abides in heaven, He is a present God so familiar that we call Him Father, and we know that our most basic daily experience such as finding food for this day is a gift from Him.
Ann Voskamp is the author of the bestselling book 1,000 Gifts. In the book she describes her struggle with anxiety that led to a spiritual discipline of looking for the special surprises God sends every day and savoring them by writing them down. She found herself healed from anxiety and thrilled with God in the process. She wrote about birds building nests and dishwashing bubbles that reflected rainbows in the sun. I began a list in July of 2012 while reading her book on a beach vacation. I finished 1000 Gifts by the end of the year. This year I have over 1,900 gifts on my list from January to October.
God gives me my daily bread and so much more. He gives the air I breathe. He sends people across my path. I don’t think I could be as aware of God’s gifts in my life if I didn’t ask specifically for my daily bread. God invites me to be as specific as I can so that I know for sure it is God who did it.
There’s a warning her. Jesus has already taught us to pray for God’s will to be done. That is a given when asking for specific prayers. Jesus in no way suggested that we talk to God about our daily needs like we did when we were children making out our Christmas list. It is not like that at all. We must never think of God as a heavenly vending machine; we put our prayer in the slot and make our selection and get just what we ask for.
Perhaps it is Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane that best illustrates this point. Mark 14:36:
“Abba, Father, he said, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Jesus was very specific asking that he would not have to drink the cup God was giving to Him. He did not want to go to the cross, die and be separated from God. I cannot know what Jesus knew and knows full well now about the pain God asked Him to suffer for my salvation. I can only know that the fact that since Jesus made this request it had to be more suffering than I can possibly conceive. I can also know that there was nothing sinful about Jesus specifically asking that God give another way to make the world right that did not involve His going to the cross. That was a picture of beautiful intimacy between Jesus and God. He was asking for His daily bread. Jesus shows me to ask specifically and still remember that God’s will is the better.
It’s important to ask specifically so that if the answer is no then rather than be mad at God for not giving you your way, you can begin to look at this no from a different viewpoint and see that this could possibly be the best way for this situation to work.
God’s gifts are given daily, it’s up to us to see them.