Today, let us ponder on the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer –
“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

The fourth petition is the first petition that is personal in nature. The first three petitions are focused on God and His glory. The first petition is a petition of adoration, expressing our desire for God’s name to be exalted above all other names. The second petition is a petition of expectation, reflecting our sincere expectation for all aspects of God’s kingdom to be fully fulfilled and consummated in this world. The third petition is a petition of submission, which describes how we yearn to obey the will of God. The fourth petition is a petition of provision, where we ask God to provide us with our physical and spiritual needs. The theological order thus teaches us that though we are requesting personal needs to be provided, the provision is not for selfish reasons but for God’s will to be done in our lives so that His name may be glorified.

However, what does the Scriptures mean by the expression “our daily bread” (tov arton hēmōn ton epiousion)?

Firstly, “our daily bread” has the idea of something that is “necessary” and “allotted” to us. It does not refer to personal preferences or wants, but what God feels is necessary for us. We may often feel that some things in life are necessary for us to survive, but God’s view may be totally different. Sometimes these things we desire may not be the best for us, and is detrimental to our service for the Lord. Hence, if the Lord so wills that a morsel of meat is sufficient for us to do His will for the day, that would be God’s allotment for us and is thus reckoned as “our daily bread”.

Secondly, “our daily bread” also encapsulates the idea of a “day by day provision”. This idea of living day by day is sometimes lost in our society because most of us receive our salaries on a monthly or weekly basis. However, God wants us to understand that we must be in constant dependence upon Him for all our needs. We must trust in Jesus every moment of every day. “For without me (Christ) ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5c) The fourth petition is not only a prayer for provision, but also a declaration of constant dependence on our Divine Shepherd. We must thus seek the Lord constantly for physical and spiritual provision to do His will. A man who does not seek the Lord’s help daily reverses the petition – “Do not give me my daily bread!” Such a man will fail in his testimony for the Lord.

By means of testimony, I have learnt that even the voice is a provision and gift from God. In my recent struggles with my loss of voice, I had often despaired that I would not be able to speak God’s Word. However, when the time comes to speak, the LORD would mercifully and graciously provide just enough voice for the delivery of the message. Is that not God’s daily bread to do His will?

The hymn Day by Day expresses the theology of “Our Daily Bread” beautifully:
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

However, the fourth petition does not say “Give us this day my daily bread”, but, “Give us this day our daily bread”. This tells us that while we should pray fervently for personal needs, we must also pray for the needs of fellow brethren. If we truly love one another in the Lord, we must keep one another in prayer. Do family members pray for one another? Do church members pray for their leaders? Do church leaders pray for the congregation?

One avenue where we can pray for one another is to attend the weekly prayer meeting. We thank God for those who come each week to pray for members in the church, and also for the activities of the week. We also thank God now for the provision of a larger room (room 309) that contains a keyboard to play hymns. Will you not join us to seek the Lord’s provision for self and others for the glory of Christ’s name?

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew