Give us day by day our daily bread.
Does God give us our bread? Is it not a thing that we ought to work for, and not to pray for, unless we really desire to see manna come down out of the heavens again? Bread and earthly blessings generally represent to us human energy, wisdom, and prudence; and it will be a great loss to the world when they cease to do so. But so much the more reason is there that we should pray for bread, for then our prayer really approaches God as He is — a God working through secondary causes in His management of the earthly interests of men. Those first petitions of the Lord's prayer are prayers that a man's soul can appreciate, and to that soul God can and does speak directly. But leave those to stand alone, and we see God as of necessity one who does work at first hand; and that He is not and cannot be. It does not add to God's glory to think of Him as such a one. That throne of His, toward which we look up and pray with all our hearts, "Thy kingdom come," would not be more powerful or more kindly if it were where every commonest hand could touch it. That name of His, which lies close to our secret thoughts, would not be more hallowed if He walked among us, giving us our bread with His own hand. It is more wonderful to think of Him as bringing food to generation after generation through so many various and appropriate channels. It is kinder to think of Him as one who stimulates His children respecting their powers; showing Himself in a thousand different ways, rather than by bringing supplies in one evident open way. Bread-fruit growing on the trees does not tend to the development of devotional or religious men. The countries in which you find the one do not show you the best specimens of the other. The inhabitants of those tropical lands look up just high enough to see the tree, and are satisfied. But bread brought from the earth by hard labour, eaten in the sweat of the brow, makes the man rise and praise God with all his developed faculties, and say, "Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself," and all the more wonderful because of that.
Parallel VersesKJV: Give us day by day our daily bread.