Daily Bread / The Lord’s Prayer – Jeremy Austill

“Give us this day our
daily bread…”

If I’m being honest, I have always struggled with this
portion of the Lord’s Prayer. I am fully cognizant the Lord is my provider and
every good thing comes from Him. I would like to believe I have a heart of
gratitude as it pertains to how the Lord has cared for my needs through the
years and how I possess several non-essential but nice to have items. The
strain I have felt concerning this moment of prayer is not a matter of pride or self-sufficiency. My difficulty is rooted in my life experience. Specifically,
I have no idea what it means to go hungry. I have never been wealthy, by
American standards, in my childhood or now in adulthood. Yet, I really have no
frame of reference for what it looks like to live day-to-day, concerned about essential needs being met.

Asking for daily bread, from a literal standpoint, is lost
on me in my middle class existence. I have grief in my heart for those in the
grip of poverty. I recall the years Michelle (my wife) taught in the public
school system and the struggle so many of the young people under her care
endured. Many had great attendance records at school because it was
potentially the only guaranteed meal they would have each day. For many in
America and around the world, “Give us this
day…”
is a whisper of desperation.

I do not want to hijack the original intent of this prayer
and manipulate it to fit my paradigm. However, Jesus, in offering us this
template of conversation, was certainly aware it would be uttered by the rich,
the poor and everyone in between. This is a language of prayer given to the
believer, the follower of Jesus, not specific to a particular social or
economic demographic. Understanding my life experience, how do I approach this element of prayer?

First and foremost, I come to these words with a tremendous
amount of humility and a soul filled with thanksgiving. Once I have taken the
appropriate heart posture, I lean into the multiple layers represented within
these 7 words. Truthfully, the biblical trail connected to daily bread is lengthy and would
require more words than I care to type in this writing. For brevity sake I will
give you a few punch lines.

To pray for daily bread is to request wisdom, good
stewardship of our intelligence and talent, solutions to challenges, favor in
dealing with people, savvy in navigating through the systems and structures of
the world, answers to difficult questions, creative ideas, and strength for
endurance in our job/assignment. If we are blessed with these things, our
efforts will be fruitful and provision will be available.

To pray for daily bread is to ask for the leading of Holy
Spirit and the self-discipline to operate within the parameters of God’s
kingdom system. More simply stated, to consistently and repeatedly implement the
precepts and concepts found in scripture. It is the acknowledgement that
obedience to the word of God in our handling of money, in integrity, in our
treatment of people, in the request for wisdom, plugs us into the system of
God’s provision. “I was young and now I
am old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for
bread.” (Psalm 37:25)
More often than not, it is our honoring of God’s
kingdom systems that lead to provision. Obedience in tithing rebukes the
devour, generosity opens heavenly windows, integrity in our dealings sows a
seed that yields an incredible harvest.

When I pray for daily bread I touch on the areas above and I
even go so far as to pray over the possessions I have that they will not
malfunction, causing me to fund their repair. I pray for favor with my
authorities. I pray my actions and decisions are of merit to yield blessing and
provision for those who serve in the ministry I lead.  I pray for the daily bread of health
over my wife and children. And once again, just to make sure it is understood
fully, I humble my heart, thanking the Lord for all I have, acknowledging whether
directly or through adherence to his better way, it all comes from Him.

***I know many
balancing statements can be applied here and different economic situations
almost demand different perspective. This writing is from my limited
perspective.

***Because I believe it is a matter of integrity, it honors the
Lord when we give credit to those from whom we have learned. Listening to this
message, linked below, by Robert Morris significantly shaped my approach to the
“daily bread”  portion of the Lord’s prayer.

Robert Morris/The Provision of Prayer

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