“In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Why did Jesus teach us to pray: “Our daily bread, give us today?” In the original Greek text “Give us today,” are the last three words in this sentence. Why not leave out “today”?
1. Jesus wants us to ask in faith. We should not pray just in general, but also specifically for today. It is possible that when we pray, we are not expecting an answer today or tomorrow. Maybe not even next week, or next year? This prayer teaches us that we can count on God’s help today.
2. Jesus wants us to take one day at a time. This reminds me of a gospel song written by Marijohn Wilkin: “One day at a time … that’s all I’m asking from you. Give me the strength to do ev’ry day, what I have to do. Yesterday’s gone … and tomorrow may never be mine. Lord, help me today, show me the way, one day at a time.”
In His sermon on the mount Jesus said: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34).
3. Jesus taught us to pray: “Give us our daily bread, today,” because He wants us to live in the present.
There are some people who live in the past, and are always talking about the good old days and wishing for times gone by. And yet the Bible says: “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
There are other people who always live in the future. They may still be on vacation and are already planning their next one. Or perhaps it is the weekend, and instead of enjoying the weekend, they are already worrying about their next week at work. By always living in the past, or constantly living in the future, we forget about today. We neglect to take time for our children, our friends or our spouse today. We neglect to take time for the Lord today. We neglect to enjoy the pleasures, beautiful memories, and small joys the Lord sends our way today. In the New Testament (NKJV) the word yesterday occurs only three times, the word tomorrow comes up eleven times, but today occurs 29 times. Jesus is the eternal I AM. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
4. By praying: Give us our daily bread, today, Jesus encourages us to pray for today’s needs. Bring today’s concerns to the Lord. Today, have you already asked God to give you His strength for this day? God is not only interested in the big things of life, in which you can obtain His guidance. He also wants you to bring the little things of this day to Him in prayer. Some people fret and ask themselves if they would have had the courage of the martyrs in confessing Christ even unto death. Do not worry about that. God gives strength according to the day. When I was in Grade 3, I could not have handled all the homework expected of a Grade 12 student, and if I had worried about the assignments I needed to finish during graduate school when I was still a child, that would have been ludicrous. As I mature, I do not even realize that what I find easy today, would have been extremely difficult at an earlier stage. In like manner, God gives the strength for the work ahead, when the time comes.
In Mark 13, Jesus speaks of terrible times ahead for the disciples: “For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days” (Mark 13:19-20).
Yet He still tells them not to worry: “But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11).
Your duty is to live victoriously for the Lord today. What the future holds we do not know, but should times of affliction arise, it is then that the Lord will give us the strength we need in that hour.
People who do not believe in victorious living say it is impossible to live godly in this present age. Yet that is what the Bible tells us to do in Titus 2:12. Jesus Himself says: “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11b). Can you live without sin for a minute? Sure. Maybe an hour? Could you perhaps live victoriously for one day? Let us focus on today, and live the way the Lord wants us to live today, and not worry about the long term. Let God take care of that.
5. God’s time is today. In the New Testament the word today is found more than twice as often as the words yesterday and tomorrow combined. In Hebrews 3:7-8a we read: “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.'” When Jesus met Zacchaeus in Jericho, He said to him: “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5b) and “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). You see God’s time is today. Hear the voice of God today. Don’t wait until tomorrow, Christ wants to live in your heart today. Don’t harden your heart, for salvation is here for you today. Act according to 1 John 1:9 and salvation is yours.
To the penitent thief on the cross, Jesus said: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). The thief on the cross knew he was saved and was going to Paradise today. He knew this even before he got to Paradise. Likewise, even if we still have years to live, we can know today that we are saved. The day of salvation is today. God’s time is today. Are you saved today? Saying I was saved yesterday, or I want to be saved tomorrow is irrelevant. You need to be certain of salvation today. “Not yet” and “too late” are ploys of the devil. It is not God who says “not yet” or “too late.” Today is His time.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). So “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things” (Matthew 6:34).
Don’t live in the past. Don’t live in the future. Live in the present. And don’t forget: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Therefore you can pray for your current needs, today.
* Please note: Due to an oversight, this months’ sequence should have appeared in the previous month’s edition of the Foundation of faith. We sincerely apologize for this error.