“Our bread, our daily bread, give us today.”  Martin Luther’s translation of Matthew 6:11

Daily – I am indebted to Ernst Lohmeyer for his magnificent work The Lord’s Prayer.  Much of his thought underscores our look at this model prayer.  His untimely death robbed the world of a man of insight and scholarship.  The book, long out of print, is a monumental exposition of the thought of Jesus on prayer.  It is worth quoting his summary of the prayer in the discussion of this verse.

“This petition also explains the plan of the whole prayer.  The children of God, together, so to speak, sharing a meal at their Father’s table, are those who in the first half of the Lord’s Prayer pray for what belongs solely to their God and Father in heaven; they can and may do this, because like the angels of God they are in his service.  And they are the sons of men hungering after food, who pray for freedom from hunger and debt, from temptation and enmity; they must and should do this, because they are needy and debtors upon earth.  In this twofold character they belong to both realms, to the former, in which God’s name and kingdom and will prevail, and to the latter, in which guilt and temptation and suffering are all around.  They are the link between God and the world, between tomorrow and today.” (p. 138)

Read this again, please.  Slowly.  Those who qualify to pray “in this manner” are His children.  Praying like this is not for everyone.  It is certainly not for those who merely speak the words as liturgy.  Only those invited to the banquet table of the Most High God may speak like this to the Father.  They begin by extolling Him.  They end by acknowledging Him.  They exist to do His will – to stand between heaven and earth as examples of His character.  And they do this daily.

The key to this part of the model prayer is the very strange Greek word epiousios (daily).  It has caused plenty of debate among translators, primarily because it is never used anywhere else.  Lohmeyer argues, convincingly, that this word looks to the past and to the future at the same time.  We experience God’s provision in life as a daily occurrence of grace.  That is certainly the perspective of the Old Testament.  God is good.  He provides.  We are grateful for our history of His provisions.  But Yeshua says something more.  God is going to continue to be good.  His purposes will come to pass.  His grace will flourish more and more until, one day, we will experience His fullness for us.  That is the coming Kingdom.  It has already arrived.  We can see it by looking back over God’s remarkable benevolence toward us.  But it is still on its way.  Our hope is secure because He has shown Himself full of grace and mercy, but it is nevertheless still hope.  It anticipates God’s full reign and rule where daily turns into eternally.

Today, as a child of His grace, come to eat at the table . . . at God’s Table.  Enjoy what He has done and is doing – and rejoice at what He is still going to do.  Today you are a child of yesterday and tomorrow.

Topical Index:  epiousios, daily, bread, Matthew 6:11

  • Tom White March 1, 2009 at 9:44 am

    LECHEM- Bread:
    The term “daily bread” should draw out visions of manna. Manna was given to the Children of Israel in the desert to sustain them. It was given on a daily basis to provide that day’s needs (except on the 6th day they got two days worth so that they would not have to gather on the Sabbath- and could rest). They were to collect an omer of manna per person, thus an omer became synonymous with “a day’s bread” or “daily bread”. It is interesting to see how many times the “mincha- grain offering” which was given with so many sacrifices was an omer- we would give up our daily bread for Him!
    Manna reminds us of covenant. The wording in Gen 16:16-20 describing the gathering of manna is just like the wording in Gen 12:4&10 describing the Passover lamb for each household. The connection of manna to Passover connects it to redemption (and thus Messiah as our Passover lamb) by the Holy One because of His covenant faithfulness to us.
    Manna reminds us of Sabbath- and Sabbath is a sign of covenant. Gathering for six days yet being able to rest of the seventh because of His provision for His covenant people is another sign of covenant relationship. Therefore we should not worry about our provision- Matt 6:25-34, because through Messiah we too are brought into the Covenant with Israel.
    Yehoshua reminds us that it is the covenantal relationship we have with the GOD of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob -through Him, that we have much more than daily sustainance (like manna), we have the promise of eternal sustainance! \o/\o/\o/
    We can call upon the Almighty for our daily needs because we have a covenantal relationship with Him that gives us that privelege! 🙂

  • Michael March 1, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Hi Skip,

    Read “Bridging the Gap” this morning and it definitely made my day.

    Ernst Lohmeyer’s writing above is as beautiful as anything that I’ve ever read.

    I also read the very moving piece on Lohmeyer in Wiki, he was a very courageous man.

    And obviously an incredibly gifted Biblical scholar; thanks for introducing him to us.


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