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First, I would say that the very fact that this petition is included in the Lord's prayer is intended as a reminder that it is God who has final authority over the granting of it, rather than being entirely within our discretion or under our control. Every blessing that we experience in this life (including not only basic things such as food and drink, but also (as Luther put it in his catechism) "clothing, shoes, house, home, fields, cattle, money, goods, God-fearing spouse and children, faithful servants and rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, order, honor, true friends, good neighbors, and the like") is ultimately from God. Also, saying the words "this day" and "daily" reminds us to focus our attention on the present, rather than being consumed by worry about the future, especially regarding events over which we have no control (Matthew 6:25-34).
In this petition we are giving thanks to God because everything we have is a gift from God. We are asking God to give us enough provision just for today, so we will continue to trust in him for the needs of tomorrow. When we give ourselves credit for everything we have instead of thanking God, we become proud and go astray from a close relationship with God. Pride comes first and then the fall. When we seek to amass an abundance of resources, beyond what we need for daily life, we will put our trust in our wealth and not in God. This will harden our hearts and draw us far away from God. We need this petition and reminder everyday so we will maintain a close personal relationship with God.
Most of us living in North America probably have enough food in our refrigerators and pantries to last several days, even weeks, and rarely worry about what are we going to eat on any particular day. So, for many of us, praying for food, might not be a priority. However, that is not the case for over a billion people who live extreme poverty in many parts of this world. For these people, food and safe drinking water is a daily concern. Having said that, I do believe that Jesus here is saying so much more. Bread in the Bible is often a symbol for Jesus and God’s Word. Jesus was born in Bethlehem which from Hebrew translates to house of bread. Jesus Himself identifies as the “bread of life” (John 6:34,35; 6:51, 57, 58). Jesus was the manna that came daily from heaven, the bread the Israelites ate every day. (Ex 16:4-35). Although praying for our daily physical nourishment is good practice, we should also be mindful of the spiritual food and not neglect the Word of God which we also need daily and not succumb to spiritual starvation.
I have always thought that this part in the Lord's Prayer referred to more than the sustenance of our bodies. I find the bible written with a lot of deep meaning, and I always read this as meaning, "Lord, give us this day all that we will require for nourishment of our heart, mind, body, and soul." Finding what I require in God's word and answer to prayer is the daily bread that nourishes more than my body.
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