This article is an excerpt from the Bible study Authentic: Developing the Disciplines of a Sincere Faith by James MacDonald.
Jesus’ words in the Lord’s Prayer are straightforward: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). That’s more than a prayer for food. “Daily bread” represents all the basic provision we require in life.
Don’t you love that Jesus encouraged us to be practical in our prayers? We don’t have to be afraid to ask for the things we need. We don’t have to feel unspiritual when we ask God to provide them. Requesting our daily bread was a major component of Jesus’ prayer, and the same should be true of our prayers.
Jesus’ concept of daily bread doesn’t incorporate every desire that skims across our brains. Being practical in prayer doesn’t mean we ask for riches or fame or a better-tasting breakfast. To keep us on track, let’s look at four essential needs – four types of daily bread – we can always bring before our Father.
We can and should pray for adequate income for every household, not so that our wants will be met but so that our needs will be met. It might not be God’s will for you to have the exact job you’re thinking about, but it is God’s will for you to have a job. It is God’s will for your family members’ needs to be met. You can boldly pray for those needs.
God doesn’t promise health to everyone, but He’s declared Himself to be the God who heals (see Ps. 103:3, for example). Yes, healing happens even today, and you can confidently pray for physical health. If God has a different plan, He can reveal it to you. And no matter what the outcome, He will be with you.
We all have basic emotional needs, yet so many people lack emotional wellness today. People are depressed; they’re filled with anxiety, bitterness, fear, and apathy. So pray about those things: “Father, I need my daily bread of emotional sustenance. I long to be able to handle things calmly. I need to know I’m not going to lose it. Please give me the peace of knowing I’m going to be OK. In Jesus’ name.” You can pray for emotional health with confidence.
We can pray for the salvation of others. We know God is patient, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Therefore, we can call out to God to bring wandering children back to Him. We can ask Him to save our spouse and to rescue our daughter-in-law. We can call out to God for these things with assurance. We can pray for our spiritual development.
These practical matters are all part of our request for daily bread. They should be in our hearts and on our lips when we pray.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2000, 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.