We all learnt the Lord’s Prayer as children and probably have fond (or otherwise) memories of school assemblies where we recited it ad nauseum. For that reason some of its rich meaning has been lost in over-familiarity and sense of “well we know what it’s all about.”
And it moves to us in our great moral needs of forgiveness, deliverance from temptation and evil. And in the middle? The only statement in the whole prayer about material provision - “Give us this day our daily bread” – more of a recognition of the Giver than a request for something to be given. It points us to the SOURCE of all things - God. It reminds us of the SUBSTANCE we need – bread, not the luxuries but the basics. It reminds us of the SEEKERS – us, for we are part of a community and it grounds us in the SCHEDULE God works to - ‘daily’.
But the word Jesus uses for “daily” is an interesting one. It is “epiousious” and is only used here and in Luke 11 v3, which is Luke’s parallel record of the same model prayer. It is difficult to pin down the exact meaning but it is wider than we might think. The idea is that not only do we ask for bread for today but every day going forward. This is a prayer for continual provision which frees us from greed, self-sufficiency, selfishness and ongoing worry and stress.
I’m constantly challenged about how to live a contented life in a mad, materialistic society. Surely one of the ways is to get a God-perspective on our lives, to have gratitude, which comes from contentment, which comes from peace, which comes from living each day close to the Father’s heart and recognising the one who is the Bread of Life. It’s tough but well worth the daily battle to realise that it’s bread alone we need. Everything else is a big bonus!!