What makes this request so remarkable isn’t the fact that they’re asking Jesus to teach them something. After all, Jesus was God and they constantly referred to him as Rabbi and Teacher.
This request stands out because this is the only record in Scripture where the disciples actually ask Jesus to teach them something. “Lord, teach us to pray”
When it comes to Jesus’ mighty acts and miracles, the disciples marveled at how he could calm the winds and waves. They stood in awe as Jesus heals the blind, casts out demons, and makes the lame walk.
Peter didn't ask how Jesus walks on water. He makes a request, and just gets out the boat and walks. It was a short walk but a walk nevertheless and He didn’t ask how to do it.
Matthew 14:28-30 NIV “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
When Jesus sends out the seventy-two in Luke 10, he doesn’t give step-by-step instructions on how to treat leprosy or cast out demons. He just tells them to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom. They took Jesus’ commission in stride and went with it, and they come back rejoicing that it actually worked.
Luke 10:1-4, NIV After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
Even when they were unable to cast the demon from the young boy, in Mark 9, the disciples don’t say to Jesus, “Teach us how to do that.” Instead, they say, “Why couldn’t we?”
Mark 9:28-29 NIV After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
However, when it comes to prayer, the disciples say to Jesus, “Teach us”. They were saying, “We need to learn how to pray.
Jesus responded by laying out a model for us on how to pray. In teaching us to pray Jesus doesn’t address the process He addresses the priorities and the agenda of our prayers,
Jesus taught us that prayer begins with longing for God’s presence before his provision.
“Matthew 6:9-10 NIV This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
When we pray as Jesus taught, we’re reminded that God’s presence and person is precious—far more precious than his provision. But prayer should not end there. We still need things from God. Because Jesus knows that we do need material, emotional and spiritual things He invites us to ask for provision.
Matthew 6:11 NIV Give us today our daily bread.
When you pray for daily bread, you are acknowledging God as your source of provision. God delights in providing for his children as any good father does. However, he also wants you to never forget he is the source of your provision.
Notice, he wants us to pray for daily bread—not weekly bread, not monthly bread, not a trust fund, not a nice little nest egg. He wants us to rely upon God daily.
Proverbs 30:8-9 NIV Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches,the but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
In other words, give me just what I need today, and I’ll come back tomorrow. Keep me constantly dependent on you so that every day, understand that you’re the sufficient supplier of my needs.
God desires it to be this way so that our dependency will always be on him and nothing else. He is doing this for our own good because we can easily forget to depend on him when everything is going well.
We’re reminded that every good gift is from God.
James 1:17 NIV Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
When Isreal was in the wilderness on the way from slavery in Egypt to Cannan the “land of milk and honey” God sent manna from heaven and he sent it as daily bread. They were supposed to gather only enough for that day and no more, except for the sixth day on which he sent enough for two days so they could observe the Sabath.
Exodus 16:4-5, 17-18 NIV Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.
If they gathered more than their daily amount, it quickly rotted and filled with maggots, rendering it useless. Jesus said we should pray for our daily bread, so stop trying to live today off yesterday’s prayers, yesterday’s grace, and yesterday’s strength. God has a reservoir of grace and strength ready to provide for you every day. Because each day brings with it new challenges and opportunities, you need fresh provision for today. God has a fresh supply of strength, love, mercy, grace, provision, his presence, or whatever you need to meet the need of the day. Best of all, he will give it to you as you ask him.
Praying for Daily Bread Is Not Just Physical Needs, but Spiritual Needs
God Is not a genie. When we ask God to meet our needs daily we reject the false notion that God is a genie. The genie has one job: to advance the agenda of the one to whom he’s bound. Another way to look at daily bread is to connect it to asking God for what you need. It is easy to forget that prayer is always about asking, and never about demanding. Demanding means God must respond to what you want. That is not how prayer works.
When you ask God to give you what you need (daily bread) you are trusting that he knows exactly what you need and what is best for you. Daily bread can be actual food for the day, or it could be spiritual nourishment that God provides you for that day. Daily bread can be a truth from his word that leaps off the page and meets your need for that moment. It could be a promise or even a correction, but it comes at just the right time, and it sustains you for that day. Jesus teaches up to not only pray for pardon, and protection too.
Matthew 6:12-13 NIV And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
These requests remind us that peace with God always comes through pardon and forgiveness, never performance. To miss a day of praying this way is to spend a day where you're tempted to think that God and you are okay because of your performance. That’s never been the case and will never be the case.
Like forgiveness and pardon from past sin, protection from future sin is found in Jesus. The trouble is, we either respond to temptation with anxiety, thinking that we’ll never change, or we respond with arrogance, assuming we have the power to resist.
The beautiful thing about our heavenly Father is he knows what we need, but what is even more beautiful is he is ready and willing to provide it. All he desires from us is that we would take the time to spend with him in prayer and while there, we can ask him to provide what we need.