What do we pray for in the fourth petition?


That God will give us the things we need for our bodies.

The fourth petition is “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt. 6:11) The word “daily” means something that happens on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… are you starting to get the picture? Daily means every single day! But the fourth petition isn’t about asking God to send us a slice of bread to snack on each day. If you were an Israelite back in Jesus’ time, the words “daily bread” would have immediately caused you to think of a famous story from the Old Testament.

Way back in the book of Exodus, about 1,500 years before the time of Jesus, God's people were wandering around in the desert with no food to eat. To save them from starving, God fed them miracle meals of “manna.” This was a special bread that fell from heaven. For 40 years, the Israelites ate this God-given “daily bread.” It was a special sign of how God had the power to take care of the needs of his people.

When Jesus taught his disciples to ask God for their daily bread, he was teaching them to ask for the things our bodies need to be healthy. It’s sort of like saying, “Father, take care of my needs like you took care of the Israelites in the wilderness.” Our needs include things like food, water, a place to live, and medicine. It also includes safety from harm and a job to earn money.

The fourth petition isn’t about praying for stuff we’d like: things like the newest video game, the biggest TV, or a double scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in a waffle cone. 1 Timothy 6:7-8 gives us a good example of what asking for our daily bread should be like: “We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

When you pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” understand that you are asking God to give you and others what they need for their bodies. Using the fourth petition like a checklist, you could pray for people you know who are sick, others who are struggling with earning enough money to take care of their needs, and for people around the world who don’t have enough food or clean water.


+ What are some things our bodies need? What are things you want but don’t really need?

+ Read Proverbs 30:7-9. How could this be an example of praying the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer?


Ps. 145:15, 16; Prov. 30:8, 9; 1 Tim. 4:4, 5

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