13 November 2005
Matthew 6:11, Proverbs 30:8, Genesis 28:20 & 1 Timothy 4:4
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
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”) 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.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.104. For what do we pray in the fourth request?
A. In the fourth request (Give us today our daily bread) we pray that we may receive an adequate amount of the good things in this life as a free gift of God and that with them we may enjoy His blessing.
1. How can we best interpret the word “bread” in this question?
The word “bread” can be interpreted as all the needful things God gives to us in this life. An excellent verse in this regard is Proverbs 30:8 - “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.”
2. Why should we take note of the word “give” in this question?
The Lord had good reason for using the word “give” here. This is to remind us that these things are gifts from above. Too many times we take for granted the needs that are supplied for us by Him. We should remember He delights in giving and be thankful!
3. Is it possible that the Lord is speaking here of spiritual blessings as well as the good things of this life?
It would seem that the Lord here means simply the good things of this life. The Lord’s Prayer is complete and this is the portion that has to do with the temporal things while the spiritual things are covered in other petitions.
4. Is it necessary for us to pray daily for these good things?
Yes, it is necessary because He taught us to do so. In addition, we are taught by Him to live a day at a time (Matthew 6:34).
5. What can we learn from the words “our bread” in this question?
We can learn that it is ours only in that we have laboured for it, all to the glory of God. If we have obtained “our bread” through false means it is not really ours in the sight of God.
6. Could you comment on the word “us” in this question?
It is interesting to note the word “us” is used. Here we have the opportunity of making known our wishes to the Lord and to include our fellowmen in our prayer. We are urged in the Word of God to constantly pray for our neighbours and to love them.