Onwards with our short series on the Lord’s Prayer, and on to “give us this day our daily bread”.
Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition, (which is, Give us this day our daily bread, (Matt. 6:11)) we pray, That of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them. (Prov. 30:8–9, Gen. 28:20, 1 Tim. 4:4–5)
The point of this petition is two-fold. First of all it helps us to realise our entire dependance upon God. Each day we pay for his provision, and each day we realise that even our daily bread is a blessing from God. Over the years I have spent many a happy half hour with my chair pulled up to the communal dining tables of Belmont Abbey as one of the monks brings round the food.
(As an aside, the food at Belmont Abbey is best categorised as the finest school dinners you’ll ever have: cottage pie, puddings with custard, rich stews - it’s all there).
Back to the tables, and before the fork hits the plate we stand and recite a verse from the Psalms: “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.” (Psalm 145:15). To remember that we look to God for our food is a great discipline to follow.
The other point we can find in this line of the Lord’s Prayer is that we ask for bread, for the basics of life. Tempted as we may be to pray for our daily Toad-in-the-Hole we ask for bread and receive anything more as a further blessing of God.
This line then reminds us of the involvement of God in all aspects of our lives, and his tendency to bless. It also reminds us not to be greedy as we pray!