Trusting God for Today’s Bread

images“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11, ESV). The word, “daily” (epiousios), means many things—“daily, necessary for existence, for the following day, for the future.” (Gingrich) Colin Hemer’s research has convincingly shown that the meaning of “daily,” is “for the following day” or “bread for tomorrow.”[1]

I don’t think Jesus meant the bread of the future messianic banquet. I think Jesus meant the bread of today—our present need for food. Jesus mentions the word, “today” in v. 11, focusing on the need of the present day. Jesus wants us to trust God for our bread for today. Thus, we can translate it literally, “Give us today our bread for the following day.”

Charles L. Allen tells a story about hungry, homeless kids after WW2. The soldiers gathered these children in large camps. They fed them every day. However, the children did not sleep well at night. They were restless and afraid.

A psychologist thought of a solution. Every night, each child were put to bed and given a piece of bread to hold. They ate bread every day. But they are not to eat this piece of bread. They will just hold it while sleeping.

The daily, nightly bread produced wonderful results. Every child slept well every night. Each one knew that he would have bread to eat tomorrow.[2]

This is how we should pray, Jesus said. Pray trusting the Father to provide bread for tomorrow. We are to pray today for our food for the following day. In the evening, we ask God to give us our food for tomorrow. In the morning, we ask God to give us today our food for the day. Jesus is teaching us to pray for food sufficient for the day. This means that we are to depend on God for our needs for today. We are to trust God to provide our needs for today.

Jesus is not teaching us to pray today for food for the coming 30 days or for the coming 12 months. For if we pray for food for the coming 30 days, and God supplies our food for the next 30 days, we may forget God. If we pray for food for the coming 12 months, and God supplies our food for the next 12 months, we may stop trusting God.

But we are to depend on God for our daily bread. Thus, Jesus teaches us to pray today for food for the coming day and the coming day only.     If we pray like that, we express our attitude of faith in God.

Prayer is depending on God for our food for today.

[1] C. J. Hemer, “ἐπιούσιος,” JSNT 22 (1984): 81–94.

[2] Charles L. Allen, God’s Psychiatry (Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell, 1953), 15-16.

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