Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 20:24-42; 1 Corinthians 1:1-25
What does this mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. (Small Catechism: The Lord’s Prayer, Fourth Petition)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The God who shows mercy is not at the same time a God who makes us beg for what we need. When we ask the Lord for our daily bread (everything we need for this body and life), we aren’t begging for Him to give us something He may withhold from us. We’re also not reminding Him that we need it. As if we only have daily bread when we remember to tell God we need it!
No, we ask for daily bread so we learn to believe that God will provide what He has promised and thereby trust in Him to do so. To put it another way: We don’t pray to make God do something. We pray to learn to trust that He will do exactly as He’s promised!
And why would God give us daily bread? Why does He provide for us and take care of us? Because of Jesus. If God the Father gave up His own Son to save us, He’ll certainly give us what we need for our tummies, too! It is Jesus, after all, who told us to pray these words. So He must be telling us that our heavenly Father has daily bread for us. And, like the catechism teaches, by praying this, we learn to believe God will give us daily bread and we learn to give thanks for it.
This is Good News in a world filled with the sort of preaching that says, “IF you want God to give you something, then YOU MUST do such and such.” “The more you pray, the better your chances.” “You have to give to God and He’ll reward you by giving back.” And on and on. In other words, prayer is taught as something that we learn to do in order to manipulate God.
But we don’t have a God like that! Christ teaches us that we have a loving heavenly Father from whom comes every good gift. Praying to Him for our daily bread is just what we do as His baptized and Bread-of-Life-filled people, because He already knows and He has promised to provide it. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Give us this day our daily bread, And let us all be clothed and fed. Save us from hardship, war, and strife; In plague and famine, spare our life, That we in honest peace may life, To care and greed no entrance give. (Our Father, Who from Heaven Above, LSB 766:5)