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

The well-known expression “our daily bread” is found in the fourth
petition of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). The term “bread” is
employed here as a metonymy for food, and thus points to all that is
necessary for our sustenance. Interestingly, the petition calls on God to
give not just our bread, but our “daily” bread. From this, we can learn
three important lessons.

The first lesson is that of divine provision. The fact that we must ask for
our bread from God tells us that all which is necessary for our lives is sup-
plied from Him. As we wake up routinely for work or school, it can so
easily be lost on us that even the air that we breathe is provided from God.
Thus, the adjective “daily” is added to impress upon us the extent of our
Father’s care for us. God’s children are never devoid of our Father’s care.
The fact that the Sovereign God of this world should condescend to nour-
ish the bodies of frail creatures such as us, should fill us with much won-
der and praise. We should begin each day with much gladness and thank-
fulness in our hearts, that all we need has been provided by the Lord.

The second lesson that we should learn is that of godly contentment.
When we ask for our daily bread, we are confessing that there is a portion
determined by God for each day, which He deems necessary for our
sustenance. Earthly parents often struggle to know what exactly their
children need to promote healthy growth. However, our infinitely wise
Father knows exactly what we need. Not too little. Not too much.
Therefore, Agur wisely pleads in Proverbs 30:8-9, “… feed me with food
convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the
LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in
vain.” (Prov. 30:8-9) Here is a man who is fully contented with the lot
given to him by his Lord because he understands that God knows what is
best for him, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)

Men in their fallen estate are never thankful nor satisfied with what God
has provided in His goodness. Those who are God’s children must guard
their hearts against greed and covetousness. We must not in our pride, act
as petulant children who assume we know what is best for us, when we
can never attain the infinite wisdom of God. “But godliness with
contentment is great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:6)

Finally, we must learn the lesson of constant dependence upon the Lord.
The principle taught here is to live from day to day. This principle is often
lost to us in modern times as the majority of us are so used to getting our pay
cheques on a monthly basis. However, if we live from day to day, we
become more acutely aware on our need to rely on the Lord every moment
of our lives. Trusting in the Lord with all our heart (Prov. 3:5-6) is not just a
monthly affair or during times of trouble, but to be exercised each step of the
way on our pilgrim journey here on this earth.

As we begin each day, we ought to confess that we cannot accomplish
anything pleasing in the sight of the Lord without His help. How can we bear
the fruit of the Spirit without the empowering of the Holy Spirit? How can
we know how to walk circumspectly in God’s will without His Holy Word?
Yea, even the support of our bodily functions come from God. Thus, it is
vital to begin each day rooted in prayer and in God’s Word. And as we go
about the day’s activity, let our hearts be in constant communion with our

Dear readers, did you remember to ask God for your daily bread?

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew

Extracted from Calvin’s Commentaries

That Christ speaks here of bodily food may easily be inferred: first, because
otherwise the prayer would be defective and incomplete. We are enjoined, in
many passages, to throw all our cares into the bosom of God, and he graciously
promises, that “he will withhold from us no good thing,” (Psa. 84:11) In a
perfect rule of prayer, therefore, some direction must be laid down as to the
innumerable wants of the present life. Besides, the word semeron, today, means
that we are to ask from God no more than is necessary for the day: for there is
no doubt, that he intended to restrain and guide our desire of earthly food, to
which we are all immoderately addicted. Again, a very frequent synecdoche
occurs in the word “bread”, under which the Hebrews include every description
of food. But here it has a more extensive meaning: for we ask not only that the
hand of God may supply us with food, but that we may receive all that is
necessary for the present life.

The meaning is now obvious. We are first commanded to pray, that God would
protect and cherish the life which he has given to us in the world, and, as we
need many supports, that he would supply us with every thing that he knows to
be needful. Now, as the kindness of God flows in uninterrupted succession to
feed us, the bread which he bestows is called epiousios, that is, continual: for so
it may be rendered. This word suggests to us such a petition as the following: “O
Lord, since our life needs every day new supplies, may it please thee to grant
them to us without interruption.” The adverb today, as I said a little ago, is added to
restrain our excessive desire, and to teach us, that we depend every moment on the
kindness of God, and ought to be content with that portion which he gives us, to use a
common expression, “from day to day.”

But here an objection may be urged. It is certain, that Christ has given a rule for prayer,
which belongs equally to all the godly. Now, some of their number are rich men, who
have their yearly produce laid up in store. Why does he command them to ask what they
have at home, and to ask every day those things of which they have an abundant supply
for a year? The reply is easy. These words remind us that, unless God feed us daily, the
largest accumulation of the necessaries of life will be of no avail. Though we may have
abundance of corn, and wine, and everything else, unless they are watered by the secret
blessing of God, they will suddenly vanish, or we will be deprived of the use of them,
or they will lose their natural power to support us, so that we shall famish in the midst
of plenty. There is therefore no reason to wonder, if Christ invites the rich and poor
indiscriminately to apply to their Heavenly Father for the supply of their wants. No man
will sincerely offer such a prayer as this, unless he has learned, by the example of the
Apostle Paul, “to be full and to be hungry, to abound and to suffer need,” (Phi. 4:12,) to
endure patiently his poverty or his humble condition, and not to be intoxicated by a
false confidence in his abundance.

Does anyone inquire, why we ask that bread to be given to us, which we call OUR
bread? I answer: It is so called, not because it belongs to us by right, but because the
fatherly kindness of God has set it apart for our use. It becomes ours, because our
Heavenly Father freely bestows it on us for the supply of our necessities. The fields
must, no doubt, be cultivated, labour must be bestowed on gathering the fruits of the
earth, and every man must submit to the toil of his calling, in order to procure food. But
all this does not hinder us from being fed by the undeserved kindness of God, without
which men might waste their strength to no purpose. We are thus taught, that what we
seem to have acquired by our own industry is His gift. We may likewise infer from this
word, that, if we wish God to feed us, we must not take what belongs to others: for all
who have been taught of God, (John 6:45,) whenever they employ this form of prayer,
make a declaration that they desire nothing but what is their own.