Give us our daily bread

Matthew 6:9-15 –  Give us our daily bread, by Rev. Colin Pretorius.

(The fifth sermon in a series on the Lord’s Prayer.)

When he was a young man, the preacher Dr. Harry Ironside went into a cafeteria to get something to eat. The tables were crowded and the only place he could find to sit down was at a table across from another man.  So he sat down and as he always did, he bowed his head to give thanks. The other man watched him and as soon as Ironside had finished, he asked “What’s the matter [..]? Is something wrong with your food?” Ironside looked at his food and said “No, it looks fine to me.” Then the guy asked “Have you got something in your eye?  Do you have a headache?” to which Ironside replied that he was feeling just fine. “What are you doing then?” the fellow asked.  “Why did you bow your head?” Ironside replied “Well, I was just giving thanks to God for the food I was about to eat.” “You believe that stuff, do you?” the guy said, adding “That’s crazy.” “Sir,” Ironside asked, “don’t you give thanks for your food?” The man said, “I never give thanks.  I just jump right in.” Ironside looked at him and said, “Well, you’re just like my dog then.  He doesn’t give thanks either.  He just jumps right in.[1] Now friends, this story isn’t about having to pray before a meal. It has to do with gratitude and dependence. It has to do with giving thanks to God for His provision. And praying for God’s provision is what our text today is about as well.

The first part of the Lord’s Prayer tells us that our priority in prayer shouldn’t be about our own needs or our own problems. Instead it should be about God’s glory, about His honour, about His kingdom rule and about the performance of His will.[2] We are to pray for our needs too but only after recognising that all comes from God and that all honour and glory is due to Him. Jesus teaches us that we are to bring things before the Lord in   prayer. It doesn’t matter if they are big things, small things, spiritual things or material things. There’s nothing that’s not covered in the Lord’s prayer.[3] To put it another way: Just as the single beam of light that’s shone into a prism contains a rainbow of colours, so the Lord’s Prayer captures the rainbow of each and every one of our needs. And our text this morning – verse 11 – is a significant part of this rainbow of colours. “Give us this day our daily bread” may be a short and seemingly simple request, but brothers and sisters make no mis­take, it is hugely important in your life and in mine. It isn’t something that we can sort of skip over or gloss over, because it has impli­ca­tions for our daily lives as well as our eternal lives.


[1] Henry Allen Ironside, quoted by Ray Pritchard, Daily bread living. . Cited 2020-04-17.

[2] David L. Turner, Matthew (BECNT; Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 187.

[3]Helmut Thielicke, Our Heavenly Father (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980), 77-78. R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom (Preaching the Word; Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 181.