God's Gracious Giving / by Joshua Torrey

God's gracious giving is highlighted in the Lord's Prayer in the midst of the petition of "give us today our daily bread." The words "give," "today," and "daily" recall our constant need to petition our gracious Father.

Even among those whom God has blessed with much "bread," there must be a reminder to practice this petition. The Westminster Larger Catechism puts it this way,

"We pray for ourselves and others, that both they and we, waiting upon the providence of God from day to day in the use of lawful means, may, of his free gift, and as to his fatherly wisdom shall seem best, enjoy a competent portion of them." - WLC Q&A 193

The remainder of this post is an excerpt from The Lord's Prayer: A Family Devotion,

My children love to participate in cooking. They basically demand to help with preparing breakfast whether it’s oatmeal, pancakes, sausage, or eggs. And yet, they do it under my guidance. I provide the ingredients and manage the working system within the kitchen. It’s evident to me they are not providing for themselves. But perhaps to them it’s not. God has in His providence seen fit that Western Christians, for the most part, have never lacked. God has given in abundance, as it’s His right to do. We are like my children. Playing “work” with all of God’s ample supplies. The Lord’s Prayer calls us to look through this flood of blessing and provision to the Provider. As Psalm 65 alluded, there can be great surplus under the hands of God. But the covenant community is not to lose sight of the perpetual need of others. We must ask the Father to “give.” We must ask daily even when it seems that we have been provided for. Many of us will never live like the widows Elisha and Elijah encountered (1 Kgs. 17; 2 Kgs. 4:1). But that is not necessary for us to grow in reliance upon God.
This is especially true of the spiritual things that we relying upon God for (Matt. 6:25). It’s all too common to find Christians who upon receiving the grace of God, treat that grace like a token in their pocket. No, instead it’s like the manna fresh anew every morning. The grace for yesterday was yesterday’s. God has grace enough for today as well. Karl Barth once said, “Progress in our life can only consist in my understanding a little better every day that I am greatly in need of God's mercy; and when I am at the end of my glorious life, then I will have to say with finality: Now I am undone unless I find mercy” (The Great Promise).
It’s up to us to pray constantly, without ceasing, for the overpowering magnitude of God’s grace. It’s through this rain of the Holy Spirit (Heb. 6:7-8) that the fruits of the Holy Spirit are grown (Gal. 5:22-24). Prayer, Bible study, and meditation are all a part of our daily requests for God to “give us today” the things necessary for our physical and spiritual lives.
Many in modern times are prone to “store up” future reserves. But our stored good are no good without grace. Calvin expressed the need for this petition like this, “The rich, equally with the poor, should remember that none of the things which they have will do them good, unless God grant them the use of them” (Geneva Catechism Q279). In previous times and places, people had to depend on God every day. God has promised to provide when we are dependent on Him and lift our needs unto Him. We are to live in the knowledge that God provides daily even the things we have stored.