Provision is something that many of us pray about regularly, and the Lord’s prayer encourages us to shamelessly pray for provision. In fact, the whole middle of the Lord’s prayer is filled with petitions and requests for spiritual and practical needs. Jesus told His disciples to pray in this manner…. “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).
Daily Natural Provision
This means that it’s not wrong to pray for a home in a good school district or a job that would be a blessing. It is not selfish to pray for a car that doesn’t break down every week. Jesus tells us to pray in this manner and to ask the Father for daily bread. We ask Him because God loves to provide for His children. In fact, one of the first names He uses is Jehovah Jireh, the God that provides.
In Genesis 22, Abraham obediently takes his son Isaac to be sacrificed on one of the mountains in the land of Moriah. Abraham binds his 25-35-year-old son and picks up a knife to slaughter his son, but as he lifts the knife the angel of the Lord called to him to not lay a hand on his son. Abraham lifts his eyes to see a ram caught in the thicket to be used for the sacrifice, and properly names that place, “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14).
WhenJesus encourages us to pray for our daily bread, it has many similarities to the time God provided daily bread for his children during their 40 years in the wilderness. Just as the Lord provided the Israelites with their daily food, so He also tells us to ask.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”
-Exodus 16: 4-5
Notice the almost repetitive emphasis on the words “daily” and “every day.” The Lord wanted the children of Israel to depend on Him to provide every day. If we don’t learn to depend on God for provision, we’ll look to another source and when we do this, we’ll be disappointed.
Keeping Us Close
Praying for our daily provision ensures intimacy and dependence on the Lord. It’s the Lord’s plan that we rely on Him one day at a time. We live in a world that promotes independence and living in a way where we don’t need anything from anyone, but this is not the goal of the kingdom of God. The Lord desires to have us close, knowing that every good and perfect gift is from Him (James 1:17).
He may give us vision for the work He has for us ahead, but His provision is for our needs today. When all our needs are met and all is going well in our lives, we are inclined to think we are carrying our own load. We earn our own money, buy our own food and clothes, and pay for our own houses. Yet even the hardest-working person owes all that he earns to God’s provision. Our life, breath, health, possessions, talents, and opportunities all originate from resources that God has created and made available to us.
According to Exodus 16:16, the Israelite people were told to: “Gather of it (manna), each one of you, as much as he can eat.” The one’s that gathered much didn’t have any leftover, and the one who gathered a little had just enough. God provided exactly how much each person needed.
We are to pray for our daily needs, which encompass more than just food. Martin Luther says that “everything necessary for the preservation of this life is bread, including food, a healthy body, good weather, house, home, wife, children, good government, and peace.”
Using Our Resources
We have all been given a certain amount of resources for each day, and we can spend these resources (time, treasure, thoughts, emotions) on anything we wish. The question is whether we spend our resources productively or waste them on worry. Worry is one of the major culprits that keeps us from spending our resources on the productive things of life. Where there is worry in our lives, it shows our need to pray. As we pray, we come to know that the Lord is excited to give us our daily bread and that His mercies are new every morning. Stop the cycle of expending your precious resources on worry and pray, knowing that your Father in heaven loves to answer the prayer, “give us this day our daily bread.”
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
-Matthew 6:25–34 (The Message)