“Give us this day our daily bread”
Matthew 6:11 NKJ
This scripture is a well known verse from what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave an outline for prayer on which believers can pattern their communication with God.
“Bread” in this context symbolizes all that we eat and all that we need. It is not just a reference to ongoing physical nourishment but primarily we are asking God to sustain us spiritually through Jesus, who is the divine Bread of life. Christ explained, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
The book of Hosea refers to a society that “feeds on the wind” and that “daily increases lies and desolation” (12:1). This is like our own people who look to insubstantial philosophies and ideas for their spiritual strength. Note that when we pray for our daily bread we are acknowledging that we need God to sustain us through life’s difficulties.
Just because someone is a Christian does not mean that he or she is automatically spared physical hardship. We share in the suffering of the world (1 Peter 5:9), and that may sometimes include not having enough food to eat. When Jeremiah was imprisoned unfairly, King Zedekiah arranged that he be given “daily a piece of bread from the baker’s street until all the bread in the city was gone” (Jeremiah 37:21). He was caught up in the events of his time. I have met many Christians who have suffered during food shortages and drought conditions.
Paul, who was not blessed with physical health and wealth, mentions to the Corinthians that he and other apostles “both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless” (1 Corinthians 4:11), and later he explained that for the sake of the gospel he personally was “in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst” (2 Corinthians 11:27). Despite those trials he was able to assure believers that “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). For the Christian Jesus is the only source of inner nourishment.
The apostle James also talks about Christians in need. He says, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of food…but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15‑16). We participate in God’s giving daily bread to others as we help those in need.
As a closing thought, note that the request is for our daily bread. It is not a selfish prayer for my individual well being. It is about us. It is about praying that not only will God maintain me from day to day but that he will give each of us daily what we need to get through today and tomorrow.
Father in Heaven, thank you that you give me what I need to sustain me from day to day. I pray for Christians who are in physical need that you would intervene and deliver them and their families. Above all I pray for all believers that you would enrich us daily through your Spirit and supply all of us with the strength to walk every day with your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray this in Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson