What exactly is Christ teaching here?
The quiet, unassuming prayer life of the Lord Jesus was very different from the showy pomposity of Israel’s religious leaders, whose presumptions prayers were designed for the ears of other people and were not offered to our Father in heaven.
The intimate prayer life of the Lord Jesus, with His heavenly Father, was very different from anything the world had ever witnessed before. No wonder, therefore, that Luke’s gospel records the disciples’ request: “LORD! Teach us to pray.’
‘The Lord’s Prayer’, was given in response to that request, and has become somewhat of a set invocation for many religious denominations, and indeed it is lovely to reverently pray through the words that Christ first shared with His disciples. But care must be taken that familiarity with the beauty of these words do not cause them to become empty, meaningless phrases, which are repeated by rote, and become futile, pagan-like babblings.
It is not necessarily the specific words that Christ was teaching His disciples to pray, but an approach towards praying that is important – where an attitude of dependent faith, is adopted – a trusting faith, which flows from a humble heart of grateful thanks and worshipful praise.
‘The Lord’s Prayer’, was not representative of Christ’s personal prayer-life, but an example how sinners, saved by grace, should pray to our heavenly Father. It was not a scripted directive on what to pray, but a precious pattern on how to pray. It was not a series of words that had to be repeated by rote.. in some legalistic ritual, but a model framework on how to petition the sovereign Creator of the universe, Who has also become our heavenly Father and great Provider.. by faith.
Give us this day our daily bread, is a simple supplication, to our heavenly Father, from His petitioning child, but it follows a section that recognises the sovereignty of God, the eternal purpose of God and the perfect will of God – both in the wider world and in our personal lives.
God has promised to supply all our needs, according to His riches in glory, but He delights to have His blood-bought children come to Him, in humble dependence, and tell Him of our needs, and voice our requests, in humble helplessness. God knows everything we need in this world. He understands that we need food and clothes, shelter and protection. God also knows the complexities of the 21st century and the roles and responsibilities that we may have in this modern-day, computerised world.
He knows our every need.. and the simple request to give us this day our daily bread, is not limited to food and shelter, but is an acknowledgement of our total dependence upon the Lord, for all our individual needs, no matter what they are or where we may live.
Christ’s instruction, to give us this day our daily bread, has its roots in developing dependent faith, in the child of God, and the prayer requests that we make to the Lord, are designed to increase that faith.. and to enlarge in us a loving trust in our heavenly, and a trusting love for our gracious Lord.
We have a God Who answers prayer.. and as God is petitioned day by day, as the great Provider of all daily needs.. so faith in Him and His promised Word increases with every tick of the clock. Indeed, without faith it is impossible to please Him.. for we have to believe that He exists and that He is the rewarder of all who come to Him and diligently seek Him, by trusting in His promised provision – as we petition Him day by day to give us this day our daily bread.