“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, esv).
A new blue bike, a skateboard, a light-up football, a U.S. soccer jersey, Xbox games, a fast sled, a trampoline, an iPad, a trip to Disneyland . . .
Ever seen a child’s Christmas wish list that looked like that? Boundless consumerism in a little body. Kids do know how to ask for what they want and need. “Mama, I’m thirsty. Grammy, my belly hurts. Daddy, hold me.” And every loving parent or grandparent will try to meet a child’s genuine needs—not every want, but every true need.
Our heavenly Father invites us to bring our requests to Him too. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He included this line: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Seven practical, straightforward words—but what was He really inviting us to ask for?
This is more than a prayer for food. “Our daily bread” represents all the basics we require. It’s such a practical prayer that covers four essential needs in our lives:
1. Income. We can pray for adequate income for every household—not so our wants will be met, but so our needs will be met. When we’re praying about financial needs, we know we’re praying according to God’s will. Just a few verses later, Jesus tells us not to worry about our basic needs. “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ . . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (6:31–32). God doesn’t want us to worry about our basic needs; He wants us to trust Him to provide.
Now it might not be God’s will for you to have the exact job you’ve been dreaming of, but it is God’s will for you to have a job. It is God’s will for the physical needs in your house to be met, and you can pray boldly with those needs in mind.
2. Physical health. God never offers a universal, blanket promise for good health for everyone. But He is the God who heals. He has never stopped being all that He is, so the God who healed Naaman (2 Kings 5) and the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years (Matthew 5) is the same God today. Healing is for today too. You can pray for physical health. If God has a different plan, He will reveal it to you. When You have physical needs, and when you need the grace to endure, come confidently to Him! “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
3. Emotional health. Every individual has basic emotional needs. There is so much lack of wellness around us today. People are depressed, weighed down by anxiety, bitterness, fear, and apathy. We can ask, “Father, I need my daily bread of emotional sustenance. I long to be able to handle things. I need to know I’m not going to lose it. Please give me the peace of knowing I’m going to be okay. I need You to calm the waters in my life, God, and make me a stable person. In Jesus’ name.” With confidence we can pray for emotional health.
4. Spiritual health. We can pray for the salvation of loved ones. We know the Lord “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We can call out to God to bring wandering children back home, back to Him. We can ask Him to save a spouse and to rescue a daughter-in-law. We can call out to God for these things with assurance.
All of this—income and physical, emotional, and spiritual health—is encompassed by the term “daily bread,”and God invites us to ask Him for what we need. Just like children who run to their parents to meet their needs, so we can ask “Our Father in heaven” today, every day, to meet our everyday needs.
Our Father in heaven, I trust You to meet my needs. I can trust You because You love me, You’re always good, and You want what’s best for me. Forgive me for worrying and for trying to be self-sufficient. Please give me today my daily bread—income and physical, emotional, and spiritual health. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.