Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Text: Fourth Petition

We learned last week that the Lord’s Prayer is divided up into seven petitions; it has seven different requests and supplications to God. In the first four, we are mainly asking God for different blessings, and in the last three for deliverance. We ask God in petitions 1-3 for spiritual blessings: that His name would be holy among us, that His kingdom would continue to come to us by His Word and Sacraments, and that His will would be done here and around the world. These are all spiritual things, after which we then turn to material blessings. Jesus told us in the Gospel to seek first God’s kingdom and all things would be added to us, and in the Lord’s Prayer He reinforces that. Daily bread includes all the things that are needed to support this body and life. In the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, we pray that God would continue to provide for the bodily needs of ourselves and others, and that we would receive these things with thanksgiving.


Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.[1]

If you remember back to last year, or to your confirmation days, you might remember that in the First Article of the Creed we confess our faith God in the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth. God, our heavenly Father, is the creator of all that exists. He formed the heavens and the earth. He molded man from the dust of the earth and made woman out of Adam’s side. We learn these things throughout Scripture, but especially in the first chapters of Genesis. Remember, also, that God isn’t just the creator of all things, but He is the preserver of all things as well. We do not believe in God the Watchmaker, who puts everything together and leaves it to work on its own. Rather, Scripture reveals God to be actively involved in His creation – chiefly in sending His Son for our salvation, but also even by providing daily bread and sustenance for all living things.

In the Psalms, for example, it talks about God who, “set the earth on its foundations… [who] covered it with the deep as with a garment… [who makes] springs gush forth in the valleys… [who makes] grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate,” who gives food to all things in due season.[2] In another part of the Psalms it says, “The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made… The eyes of all look to You [O Lord], and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing.”[3] Jesus said,

“If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you…Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”[4]

God our heavenly Father, out of His great love and mercy for all things, gives to all things their daily bread. And, just as the Catechism says, daily bread “includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body.” It includes everything we mentioned and more. When we think daily bread, we think mostly food and clothing and shelter. In this petition, we pray for everything that goes into those things – good weather, fruitful fields and harvests, good workers, good government and support services, deliverance from war, and so on. In this way, this is an especially far-reaching prayer, since we are asking God to continue to provide for all our bodily needs, and the needs of others, and everything that goes with that. We also pray against the devil here, because if he could, he would take away everything we have and drag us down to hell with him. He is actively at work disrupting the world and tempting people to despair. The Fourth Petition is directed also against the devil.


Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

So, what do we pray for in the Fourth Petition? We pray that, as God already does, that He would continue to give us our daily bread; that He would lead us to realize this and receive all these things with thanksgiving; and, that we would be content with what we have so that we may share our blessings with others. Jesus said that His Father clothes even the lilies of the field, He gives food to the young ravens that cry, He sends rain on both the just and unjust alike. We pray in this petition that He would continue these things among us also. We ask that, as God has provided for us up to now, that He would continue to do so. We pray that He would continue to send favorable weather so that our crops can grow, good workers so that the products we need may be made and repaired, and good rulers so that we may live in peace.

We also pray in this petition that not only would God continue to provide for us and the world, but that He would lead us to realize this and receive His gifts with thanksgiving. There’s a difference between believing that everything we have comes either from hard work or chance, and believing that we have what we do because God has blessed us. Indeed, we do work hard, but it is by God’s blessing that our work is productive. St. Paul might say that we water the field, but God provides the growth. We ask in this petition that God, by His Holy Spirit through His Word, would teach us that He gives us all things out of love. All that we need is already known by God, who provides for us as a loving father would his children. We ask that we, in turn, would be like the one leper who returned to give thanks – and not like the other nine.

Lastly, we pray in this petition that, receiving God’s gifts with thanksgiving, we would also be content with what He has given us. It is the truth that our sinful flesh always wants more. I can think at least seven Commandments that are meant to direct us away from the sinful pursuit of things we don’t truly need. St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”[5] If we learn to receive our bread with thanksgiving from a God who loves to provide, then we can also freely share with those who are in need. It may be that in doing so, God is using us to provide daily bread for others. We pray in this petition that we may be content with God’s gifts, and use the things He gives to provide for others in need.

In the Fourth Petition, we confess that God our heavenly Father is the maker and preserver of all things. He gives to all things their food in due season. We ask that He would continue to provide for us our daily bread, that we would receive His gifts with thanksgiving, and that we would be content with what we have so we may share with others. Next week, we’ll learn again the Fifth and Sixth Petitions: Forgive us our trespasses and lead us not into temptation.





[5] 1 Tim. 6:8.

Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Text: Deuteronomy 8:1-10

Thanksgiving is usually one of those lazy days. Maybe not for the people preparing all of the food, since that takes a lot of work; but for the rest of us, who only eat the food, Thanksgiving is just a day where we put on our loose pants, sit back, eat, eat some more…and maybe watch some football. This is what Thanksgiving has turned into recently, though the Thanksgiving Proclamation, which was given by President Lincoln in 1863 reads, “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”[1]

Outside of church people gather to give thanks for and remember all the good that they have received from those around them. We know and remember, as Christians, that all that we have and receive comes as a blessing from our Father in heaven. The fact that we receive good things is because of the reconciliation that Jesus has made between God and us by the shedding of His own blood for the forgiveness of our sins. We confess in the explanation to the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed:

“I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.”[2]

Today we gather to give thanks to God and to remember all of His gifts to us. We know that through the grace He has shown to us through His Son Jesus Christ we have more than enough, and the only required response on our part is to thank and praise Him.


The whole system works rather nicely. God acts first, and then He brings us to act. Moses recounts this to the people near the Jordan River in our text from Deuteronomy 8. Earlier in his address he told them, “You are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession, out all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number…but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that He swore.”[3] He reminds them how it was not because of their righteousness, for they were a very stubborn people, but because of God’s righteousness and love that He has provided for them.

Moses writes, “Remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness… [how He] fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know…Your clothing did not wear out on you and your feet did not swell these forty years.”[4] All of these things were great blessings of God. While His children were in slavery, He heard their cries and led them up out of Egypt by His mighty hand. He even lead them away from the Philistines and through the Red Sea, fearing that they would abandon Him and go back to Egypt. When they got out in the desert God wanted to lead them straight to the Promised Land, but the people complained and wished that they had stayed in slavery. God provided them with water and sent them bread from heaven. When they complained about that He provided them quail to eat. When they yet rebelled against Him, God vowed that they would not enter the Promised Land for a generation.

But even then, He did not leave them. He constantly was with them and led them. He fed them. Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell. God did all these things out of His love; but in love He also disciplined them as a father would His children. This is why they wandered for forty years, and why God let them hunger – in order to show them that “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”[5] This is illustrated so well in the reading from Luke where Jesus heals the ten lepers through His Word. As a father, God disciplined His children to teach them to live according to His commandments, but He does it while also leading them to the Promised Land. Moses said to the people that God is bringing them into a good land, full of many great things. Though they will continue to sin against Him, God continues to provide for them. All that He asks is for His people to remember Him.


Moses continues, “You shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.”[6] Notice that this is descriptive and not prescriptive. It is describing what God’s blessings bring about in His people. Luther describes it as our duty to thank and praise God, but both of those things are worked by the Holy Spirit in us through the grace that we receive in Christ. One of my professors at seminary taught that though God causes the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust, the reason that we receive good things is entirely due to Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. We were all born dead in our sin and trespasses. Our entire lives we carry the weight of our sin upon our shoulders and we deserve nothing but God’s wrath and punishment – both here in time, and in eternity in hell.

Therefore, as St. Paul writes, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to saves sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”[7] Though we were nothing but darkness, full of unthankfulness and without praise, Jesus died for us. He did this to win for us the forgiveness of sins and He rose from the dead for our justification, proving that He has conquered the powers of sin and death.

Not only has Christ brought us out of sin and darkness by the shedding of His blood, but it is because of Him that we receive all good things from God. Our heavenly Father richly and daily provides everything we have and need to support this body and life. Nowhere is that more important than in the forgiveness of sins that Christ brings to us. Through the words of Holy Absolution and the preaching of His Word we receive the forgiveness of all our sins. In the Sacrament Christ gives us His body to eat and His blood to drink for the forgiveness of our sins and the strengthening of our faith. The Lutheran Confessions say that God is truly “superabundant” in His grace.

All of these things are done out of His fatherly, divine goodness and mercy without any merit or worthiness within us. What does God ask of us in return? Only to remember and give thanks to Him. He wants us to continue to receive all the good that He has to give. Martin Luther writes in the Large Catechism that God loves to continually give Himself to us. For all this it is our duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. That is why we are here today. Luther also said that the ultimate worship of God is to do nothing but continue to receive His gifts and to look to Him for all good things. This we have through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.



[3] Deut. 7:6-8

[4] Deut. 8:2-4

[5] Deut. 8:3

[6] Duet. 8:11

[7] 1 Tim. 1:15