When Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6, he taught them to pray “Give us today our daily bread.” What has interested me these last few days is that just before Jesus launches into the Lord’s Prayer, he prefaces it by saying, “When you pray, don’t keep on babbling… your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” If God knows what we need for our daily sustenance and survival, what is the point of asking Him for it, especially if we are to avoid unnecessary words? Also, just a little while later, Jesus instructs us not to worry about what we are going to eat and drink because we are precious to our Father and just as he feeds the birds of the air, so too, will He feed us.
So it got me thinking — is Jesus instructing us to pray for something other than daily food and water? Is “daily bread” a cryptic form of instructing us to pray for another type of sustenance and, if so, what are we to be praying for?
In John 4, Jesus has sent his disciples into the city to buy food. While they are gone, Jesus has a nice chat with the woman at the well and reveals to her that he is, indeed, the Messiah. Upon the disciples return, they urge Jesus to eat the food they have just brought back, but Jesus replies, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about,” John 4:32. “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” John 4:34.
Jesus obviously needed to eat real food, but there was another type of food that sustained him – spiritual food – daily bread.
I believe that our Daily Bread is to do the good works we were created to do. Our Daily bread is to overcome the enemy, prevail in prayer and set up the Kingdom on the earth. I’ve often wondered if Jesus drew from the story of Caleb and Joshua when he taught his disciples to ask for daily bread.
To recap: Joshua, Caleb and 10 other spies are sent into the Promised Land after their Exodus from Egypt. They were to bring back a report of the land itself and also its inhabitents. Upon their return, the spies related that the Land was exceedingly good, but that it was inhabited by giants. 10 other spies urged the people to not go in, but Joshua and Caleb protested. They said, “Do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”
Joshua and Caleb saw the giants as bread. Conquering them would sustain the conquest of the Promised Land and inspire the Israelites to greater glory. Sadly, the Israelites gave in to fear and spent the next 40 years wandering until every last one of them died.
I wonder if Jesus was trying to get us to pray big prayers. I wonder if he was inviting us to ask our Heavenly Father for giants to overcome. I wonder if he was hoping that we would lay hold of our identity as “more than conquerors” and seek out those things that seem so large in the eyes of men and overcome them through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The more I wonder, the more I ponder, the more certain I become – Daily Bread is the establishment of the Kingdom of God through the hands of His Saints. Daily Bread is healing the sick, raising the dead, and making demons homeless. Daily Bread is bringing people to salvation through Christ. Daily Bread feasting on the fruit of answered prayer.
This revelation has changed how I pray. I used to think that asking for daily bread was asking for the grace to scrape by. I now think that asking for Daily Bread is asking for supernatural empowering to overthrow demonic strongholds and to eat giants for breakfast.
One last thing. Jesus taught us to pray in the plural. We ask for OUR daily bread. I can’t win the Promised Land by myself – I need an army behind me. Once again, the story of the Israelites becomes pertinent.
In the course of their wandering, some of the Israelites became content with life outside the Promised Land. The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh all found life outside the Promised Land quite satisfactory and they wanted to stay outside, they didn’t want to fight. But Joshua made them. Joshua made the men fight until their brothers had inherited their portion from The Lord, only then could they all rest secure.
It isn’t enough for me to fight for and secure my own portion, I have to fight for and secure yours along with you. Until the whole people of God have stepped into their inheritence, none of us can rest. We have a responsibility to our brothers to fight for them, to see them secure in their identity and destiny. Any less than that is to work against what Jesus taught us.
I hope that this revelation sparks a fire in you. I hope that you begin to pray big prayers. I hope that you really come to understand that you are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus who loves you. I hope that you dream big dreams and fight for the dreams of your friends. We need you.