Give us this day our daily bread.
In the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, the focus shifts from centering on God and his glory to us and our needs. At first the request seems to be a simple one, “Give us this day our daily bread…” but contained in this request are underlying truths about who we are and who God is. It shows our complete dependency on God as he is the one who provides what we need, he is the giver and we are the ones who receive. This dependency on God is not a one-time thing or an occasional occurrence but rather a daily dependence on him for everything.
This petition also reminds us that both the spiritual and the physical aspects of our life matter. There is nothing unspiritual about praying for our daily needs such as bread, which is used in this prayer as an example of all of our basic needs; food, water, shelter, etc. We are instructed to bring our requests to God as ones who do not need to worry about tomorrow but rather look to him each day for our sustenance. In doing so, we acknowledge that we are not in control and that God is the one who is our source of hope and provision.
In addition, we should see the connection between asking for daily bread and looking to the one who is “the Bread of life,” Jesus. As we are reminded of our dependency on God for our physical needs, we are pointed to the reality of our dependency on God for our spiritual life. Philip Ryken captures this well: “Anyone who wants to live forever with God must take Jesus in the way a hungry man takes his daily bread. What joy there is to life when we discover that he is all we need, and that having him, we lack nothing!”