I’m a late convert to the Lord’s Prayer. Unlike others, I didn’t grow up reciting it regularly at church or school. Only recently have I discovered its power as a daily prayer. And when I get to the line “Give us today the food we need” (Matthew 6:11), three things strike me:
It’s today’s food we ask for, not tomorrow’s. Those who were originally taught this prayer were humble first-century villagers (Matthew 4:23–5:2). They didn’t have refrigerators. Each day they faced the challenge of obtaining food. As we pray this prayer, we’ll learn to live in the present moment too, worrying less about tomorrow and trusting God with today (Matthew 6:25–26).
We ask for the food we need. Jesus expects us to pray communally—in churches, families, and in solidarity with our neighbors. As we pray this prayer, we’ll become more sensitive to needs around us—for empty bellies in poverty, for those struggling to pay their bills, and for the isolated and lonely. Praying for what we need means what we have is to be shared. We’ll grow in generosity too.
We pray for the things we need. Our complex bodies hunger for nutrients that God has provided in the hills, fields, and streams of creation. But we also need clothes, work, sleep, and safety as much as food, and we bring all these needs to God too. Praying this way will help us discern the difference between wants and necessities.
Our food may come from the grocery store, and before that from the farmer, but it ultimately comes from God. As we pray this prayer, we’ll begin to see God’s unseen hand behind all we have, trust Him with our daily needs, and restrain greed.
So give us today the food we need, Lord. And thank You for everything we’re about to receive.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 25:1-30
Read Philippians 4:6 and see how Paul instructs us to pray and what to pray for.
What need do you have today? What hungers do you think God most wants to satisfy in your life?