Why Does Jesus Tell Us to Pray for Our Daily Bread?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches his disciples about prayer. One reason Jesus taught them how to pray is because they asked him. 

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1).

Of all the things they asked Jesus, this is one of the most important questions. In response to the question, Jesus lays out a model for us on how to pray, which we find in Matthew and Luke. One thing Jesus instructs us to do in prayer is to ask for our daily bread. 

“Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).

Beyond the fact Jesus told us to do it, why should we pray for our daily bread? Since one aspect of prayer is asking God for what we need, let’s see how praying for our daily bread fits into your prayer life.

Praying for Daily Bread Is about Recognition

In general, prayer is relational and should be a primary source of connection in your relationship with your heavenly Father. However, there is an aspect of prayer that is transactional where you come to God asking for the things you need. While going to God with what you need is important and encouraged by God himself, all prayers should not be transactional. If the only time you pray is when you need something from God, then you are missing the heartbeat of what prayer is. 

When you pray for daily bread, you are acknowledging God as your source of provision. God delights in providing for his children as any good father does. However, he also wants you to never forget he is the source of your provision.

You may have a job or money in the bank, but those things are resources that can come and go, as recent events in our society have proven. By relying on God for provision, you are acknowledging him as your source, and you can trust him knowing he will provide everything you need. Trusting God for your daily bread gives God the opportunity to prove his faithfulness to you. He shows up when you need him and he provides you with what you need, and you can trust that he always will.

Praying for Daily Bread Is about Consistency

Perhaps the most important word in the phrase “daily bread” is “daily.” Prayer was never meant to be a once-a-week activity that you engage in on Sunday morning. Prayer is designed to be a daily practice and an ongoing communication between you and God.

In coming to God daily, we look to him to provide what we need for the day, and then we come back tomorrow. God desires it to be this way so that our dependency will always be on him and nothing else. He is doing this for our own good because we can easily forget to depend on him when everything is going well.

In Exodus 16, God sent manna from heaven to the Israelites, and he sent it as daily bread. They were supposed to gather only enough for that day and no more. If the Israelites gathered more than their daily amount, it quickly rotted and filled with maggots, rendering it useless.

I like to cook, and there are times I will cook a large enough amount for only one reason – so there will be leftovers. This way I don’t have to cook for the next day or two and we can eat what is remaining. Sometimes, this is how we treat prayer. We can foolishly think I don’t need to pray today because I am enjoying the leftovers from yesterday’s prayer or the prayer from two to three days ago. Prayer and God’s provision were not designed to operate in this fashion.

Remember, Jesus said we should pray for our daily bread, so stop trying to live today off yesterday’s prayers, yesterday’s grace, and yesterday’s strength. God has a reservoir of grace and strength ready to provide for you every day. 

Because each day brings with it new challenges and opportunities, you cannot depend on leftovers. You need fresh provision for today. Thankfully, you don’t have to settle for leftovers. God has a fresh supply of strength, love, mercy, grace, provision, his presence, or whatever you need to meet the need of the day. Best of all, he will give it to you as you ask him.

Praying for Daily Bread Is about Need, not Want

Another way to look at daily bread is to connect it to asking God for what you need. It is easy to forget that prayer is always about asking, and never about demanding. Asking recognizes that God is in control, and you must depend on him. Demanding means God must respond to what you want. That is not how prayer works. 

When you ask God to give you what you need (daily bread) you are trusting that he knows exactly what you need and what is best for you. If you remove this element from prayer, then prayer can become something else not founded in dependence on God, but on just getting the things we want. Sadly, for too many people, this is the extent of their prayers.

Praying for Daily Bread Is not Just Physical Needs, but Spiritual Needs

Lastly, praying for daily bread is not just about physical needs, but spiritual ones as well. Daily bread can be actual food for the day, or it could be spiritual nourishment that God provides you for that day. Daily bread can be a truth from his word that leaps off the page and meets your need for that moment. It could be a promise or even a correction, but it comes at just the right time, and it sustains you for that day. 

Why Should We Pray for Our Daily Bread?

The beautiful thing about our heavenly Father is he knows what we need, but what is even more beautiful is he is ready and willing to provide it. All he desires from us is that we would take the time to spend with him in prayer and while there, we can ask him to provide what we need. We are not there because we are only looking to complete a transaction; we are there because we have a relationship with him. When we come to him from that place, then let’s do what Jesus instructed and pray, Lord, give us this day our daily bread

An Example Prayer

Today I come recognizing you as my Father. My first desire is to spend time with you. From that place of relationship, Lord, I ask that you provide all that I need for today. As I open your word, provide me with nourishment that will fill my soul. As I move throughout the day, provide the energy I need, the wisdom I need, the grace I need, and the love I need to meet whatever issue I will face today. I also thank you for the provision of physical food and shelter that I recognize comes from your hand and nowhere else. Help me walk with you today in confidence because I know you will provide all that I need because that is who you are. I thank you now for this.
In Jesus' name,

Photo credit: Pexels/Mariana Kurnyk

Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com



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