Give us this day our daily bread.
Introduce by a few remarks on the sublime simplicity of the petitions of this prayer, typified in none better perhaps than in this. Give also simple explanation of the word rendered here "daily," to the effect that it does not repeat the meaning contained in "this day," but designates rather the natural requirement of any one, and the portion needful and allotted to him by parental care and love. Then the petition may be vivified, and a grateful realizing of its significance and beauty may be helped by speaking of it as -
I. THE HUMBLE PRAYER OF CREATURE-NEED. Instance comparisons of the dependence of all life,
(2) animate and conscious;
(3) animate, conscious, and intelligent; and show how fatal the fault when to these great facts of nature that of religious devoutness is not found added (Psalm 104:27, 28; Psalm 145:15, 16).
The very sense of creature-need may be comfort, and help lead us to think on whom that need is permitted and invited to draw. How different our youth's presumptuous challenge of responsibility from the craving after relief from that very thing in maturer life, mellower character, and declining age!
II. THE HAPPY PRAYER OF CHILD-DEPENDENCE. The youngest child unconsciously depends for its portion every day upon its parents. And it becomes so natural to it that it knows not a doubt or fear for the same as years go on, till with the springing up of thought and the teaching of goodness and wisdom it becomes an effort to acknowledge its child-dependence and the grace that supplies it. That effort is healthful and useful. The very beginning of this prayer warrants us in this petition to ask, as the asking of the dependence that gives the child its claim, and a claim in its character something in advance of that which it utters as a creature.
III. THE TRUSTFUL PRAYER OF NECESSITY INDEED, YET UNANXIOUS NECESSITY. When the portion that the day wants has changed from milk to bread, and from milk and bread to wine and strong meat, there are yet other imperious forms of necessity that it takes. In one known word, there is "strength equal to the day" wanted. Various is the day, very various such days! The strength of healing, of pity, of pardon, of gracious and unusual intervention, is wanted; and is to be prayed for, and may be even begged for; but then most successfully when from the calm, deep heart of trustful unanxiety (Psalm 37., passim). - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: Give us this day our daily bread.