In the 1950s the hit television show Father Knows Best portrayed the character of Jim Anderson as a thoughtful father who offered wise counsel whenever his children had a problem. In the 1980s the hit television show The Cosby Show portrayed the character of Heathcliff Huxtable as a loving father who provided support, humor, and good advice to his children. But in the 1990s and beyond, most of the father characters on television have been either dysfunctional or buffoons. Can fathers be trusted to guide their children?
Some are blessed with a wise, godly father while others grew up with a father who was absent, abusive, or aloof—but we all can trust in our heavenly Father to know what we need (v. 8). Jesus grounds the foundation for prayer in that relationship: our Father knows and cares for us, and we can trust Him.
This is the context for the request for our daily bread (v. 11). Jesus may be alluding back to Proverbs 30, which we studied earlier. As we saw, this prayer for daily bread was anchored in a desire for a reverent relationship with God that acknowledged His provision. Here, Jesus takes that a step further by linking daily bread with our Father’s concern for His children. This relationship is deeply personal, as Jesus further explained later in the Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 7:7–11).
While daily bread does include provision for physical necessities like food, it also demonstrates how physical and spiritual prayer requests are intertwined. It occurs in between a prayer for God’s will to be done on earth and a prayer for forgiveness for our sins. Our recognition of God’s provision for us is linked to how we acknowledge Him working in the world and being in right relationship with Him.
Apply the Word
You may say a prayer of thanks before you eat a meal. That is entirely appropriate, since it should be a moment to acknowledge that every morsel of our food each day is a gift from God. As you pray and eat, also take a moment to reflect on God’s provision in other areas and acknowledge how He is working both in the world and in your life.