Bread for Today and Tomorrow
Passage: Matthew 6:9-13 and John 6:35-40
O God, you are life, wisdom, truth, bounty, and blessedness, the eternal, the only true good; our God and our Lord, you are our hope and our heart’s joy – we acknowledge with thanksgiving that you have made us in your image, and that we may direct our thoughts to you. Lord, make us know you aright, that we may love, enjoy, and possess you more and more; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Anselm (1033-1109) Archbishop of Canterbury known for his godly character, sharp intellect, and vital contribution to the church’s understanding of the person and work of Christ.
What are some good limits in your life in this season? What are limits you are resisting?
Read Matthew 6:5-13 and John 6:35-40. What ideas or phrases surprise, encourage, or spark questions for you? What are the implications of praying “Give us today our daily bread” as we understand Jesus as the bread of life?
According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647) the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “give us this day our daily bread” is a prayer to receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them. Like the string of a kite, we are tethered in prayer to God in order to enjoy him. How does this particular petition teach you to worship?
Our daily bread refers to “everything necessary for the preservation for life” according to Martin Luther. It’s not cake. It’s our basic physical needs and our essential spiritual needs. We are dependent on our Father in heaven. In a culture that highly values independence and self-sufficiently, as well as wealth and luxury, how do you work out your dependence on Jesus?
This is a relational prayer for our daily bread. What is needed to pray this way for others? Consider your neighbors, our church family, the global church, our city, our missionaries, our country. Who can you pray “give us today our daily bread” for this week?
Eugene Peterson explains, “untutored, we tend to think that prayer is what good people do when they are doing their best. It is not. Inexperienced, we suppose that there must be an ‘insider’ language that must be acquired before God takes us seriously in our prayer. There is not. Prayer is elemental, not advanced, language. It is the means by which our language becomes honest, true, and personal in response to God. It is the means by which we get everything in our lives out in the open before God.” How have you experienced the tension Peterson refers to?
In celebrating communion, we take and eat the bread of life broken for you. We are tethered to Jesus, the bread of life, for our lives. How does Jesus’s spoken and embodied invitation to pray for our daily bread encourage you to pray?
Share with your group how they can be praying for you: what is weighing on you from this past week? What are you praising God for from this past week?
“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone, the new is here. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ – not counting our sins against us, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18