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The Lord's Prayer

Fourth Petition: Bible Study

May 17, 2018

The Fourth Petition Bible Study

 The Fourth Petition: Give us this day our daily bread.

 What does this mean: God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

 What is meant by daily bread: Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

 The Central Thought:  Take away our “daily bread”—namely, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the homes that shelter us, the government that protects us—and we die.  Since these things are so important, why do we take them for granted and not express gratitude for them?  Read Exodus 16:1–21.

What was challenging to the Israelites about the way God provided?    

 As Christians, we pray that we might be grateful for everything (however ordinary) that God provides each day for our bodily life.  What habits and practices can help me to better recognize how God sustains my life each day?

 What is the focus of this petition?

Answer:  It focuses on recognizing God as the giver of all good things and giving thanks for all His gifts of creation that sustain our bodily life (in other words, we pray for all the gifts mentioned in the First Article of the Creed).

 Why does God provide for the earthly needs of everyone, even apart from prayer?

Answer:  As our loving Creator, God looks after His entire creation and provides for both Christians and non-Christians, for people and animals.

  • Matthew 5:45 He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
  • Acts 14:16–17 In past generations He allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet He did not leave Himself without witness, for He did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
  • Psalm 104:21 The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.
  • Psalm 145:15–16 The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing.

 What do we mean by “daily bread”?

Answer:  “Bread” is a biblical way of summarizing all that we need to sustain our lives on earth.

  • Isaiah 55:2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

Why do we specify “daily” bread in this petition?

Answer:  “Daily” highlights how every moment and every day of our lives depend upon God’s provision.

  • Acts 17:28 In Him we live and move and have our being.
  • James 4:15 You ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
  • Psalm 104:27–29 These all look to You, to give them their food in due season. When You give it to them, they gather it up; when You open Your hand, they are filled with good things. When You hide Your face, they are dismayed; when You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

For what, then, do we pray in this petition?

Answer:  We pray that, in humility,

  1. we would look to God for what we need each day so that we do not worry about the future;
    • Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
    • Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
    • 1 Peter 5:6–7 Humble yourselves, … casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
  2.  We would receive all our physical blessings with thanksgiving;
    • Psalm 106:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!
    • Ephesians 5:19–20 Singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • 1 Timothy 4:4–5 Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
  3. We would find contentment with what we have received.
  • 1 Timothy 6:8 If we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
  • John 6:12 When they had eaten their fill, He told His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”
  • Proverbs 30:8–9 Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
  • Luke 12:15–21, about the parable of the rich fool.

 How does God provide our daily bread?

  1. He makes the earth fruitful with all that we need.
    • Psalm 104:14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.
    • Psalm 145:15–16 The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing.
  2. He blesses us with the ability to work and thus enjoy the fruitfulness of the earth.
    • 2 Thessalonians 3:10–12 Even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
  3. He blesses us with earthly authorities and structures (a stable government and economy), which provide settings where we can work and receive our daily bread.
  • 1 Timothy 2:1–2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

     Does God give me daily bread only for my own needs?

    Answer:  No. God wants us to share with others in need and to include them in our prayers.

  • 1 Timothy 5:8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
  • Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
  • 1 John 3:17–18 If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

 If God provides for everyone in these ways, why do some lack daily bread?

Answer:  Famine, scarcity, and need are the result of a fallen creation. Human sins, such as greed, callousness, and laziness, often contribute to these problems. Also, in a sinful world, unjust or incompetent governmental and economic systems may result in or contribute to the lack of daily bread. There is, indeed, the greatest need to pray for earthly authority and government. By them, most of all, God preserves for us our daily bread.


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