Have you ever wondered why smack dab in the middle of the Lord’s prayer, Jesus shifts the topic from seeking God’s will to asking for provision, then back to seeking God’s will?
It always seemed to me that “Give us today our daily bread” was tucked into the prayer, but that it always seemed a little bit out of place relative to what was being requested of God before and after that sentence. It was almost as if to say (please forgive the Ragamuffin paraphrase), “Father, You are worthy of worship and our reverence. We want Your desires to be fulfilled, both in heaven and on earth. Please provide for our needs. Forgive us, as we have forgiven those who have offended us. Lead us in away from temptation and deliver us from evil.”
Mulling this over this morning, I posed the question to the Father. I asked Him why the provision of “stuff” was being requested in the middle of a prayer about seeking His will and honoring Him in obedience.
Three verses came to mind:
- “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again” (Matthew 6:7-8 NLT).
- “And Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’” (Luke 4:4).
- “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34 NIV).
In my spirit, I felt an urge to go to the original language to look up the word “bread” in the context in which it is used in the Lord’s Prayer. It says that the word used means “lion of God” and it combines the meanings of “young lion” and “pierce.” Who is the Lion from the Tribe of Judah who was pierced for our iniquities? It’s Jesus, of course!
My whole life I have heard Jesus referred to as the “bread of life.” We even take “the bread” which symbolizes Jesus’ body during Communion, yet I never made the connection between Jesus, the “Bread of Life”, and the use of the word “bread” in the Lord’s Prayer.
Forgive me because I am probably the only one not to get this before now. “Give us this day our daily bread” now fits perfectly in this prayer! Indulge me too, once again. Provide my Ragamuffin paraphrase* with my new understanding:
Dear friend, the Father wants us to bring all our requests before Him, but more than anything else, what He wants to give us daily is more of Jesus. Through His strength within us, we can fight temptation, break loose from the torment of addiction, walk in wisdom, and pour out forgiveness that we are unable to on our own.
Why not ask the Father to stretch you inside and to fill you with more of Jesus? 💡
Father God, I come before You with the dear one reading this. You know every one of our practical needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8). You faithfully provide for the birds of the air and clothes them in brilliant colors of the rainbow. We can trust You to be faithful to meet our physical needs. Help us to be faithful in return as good stewards of Your blessings. Today, what we ask You for is more of Jesus within us. We need more of Him every day than anything else. Apart from You we can do nothing (John 16:5), but we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We choose to take up our cross and die to our flesh, that more of Jesus can be alive within us. Enlarge our capacity to receive more of Him and His strength, that we will walk in both the grateful receiving and lavish outpouring of forgiveness. With the strength of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah within us, teach us to live with wisdom, abounding in grace and mercy and free from the snares of the enemy.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
*My paraphrased prayer is not intended to in any way replace the Lord’s Prayer of Matthew 6, which is the inspired Word of God. It is intended to only provide a fresh perspective as to an interpretation of the meaning of the words of Jesus, to which we may have become dull of hearing through familiarity.
Copyright 2019: Our Daily Bread: Julie Souza Bradley Lilly. All Rights Reserved.