To ask for today is sufficient. And if, as the dusk of evening settles upon our earthly life of the day, we have neither bread in the house, nor the means wherewithal to buy bread, even for another day, but the Lord did provide us in the day that has come to a close, He heard our prayers and fulfilled His Word: “Give us this day our proper portion of bread.”
We must not overlook that this petition, as well as the other two petitions in this last section of the Lord’s Prayer, stand in the plural. It does not say, “Give methis day my daily bread,” but, “Give us bread.” This presupposes love of the brethren. Without this love of the brethren we cannot possibly pray this fourth petition. It implies that when we have sufficient bread for the day, and perhaps more, and we know that our brother has need, we shall impart to him some of the daily bread which our heavenly Father has given us. Nor shall we have respect of persons. For that is not rooted in the love of Christ and in faith. The apostle James writes: “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, and goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?” James 2:1-6. And as to imparting of our abundance to the poor and giving them a portion of our daily bread, the same author writes: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister *be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” James 2:14-16. And the apostle John expresses the same thought in I John 3:16-18: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but indeed and in truth.” Actual love of the brethren, therefore, is presupposed in this fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. As long as we have not done all in our power to fulfill the needs of those that are in want, we cannot possibly send this petition to the throne of grace.
It may not be amiss in this connection to ask the question whether there is any basis in Scripture for the pretention of those that are called faith-healers, or for the belief that the prayer of faith will give instant and sure recovery to those that are sick. The fourth petition, so we said, is concerned with all our physical necessities in this present world and in this present life. Now surely, those physical needs are different at different times and in different conditions. Sometimes we are in a state of physical health, in which we are active, perform our daily work, and return home hungry. We need bread. At other times, however, the Lord puts us down on our sick-bed, so that we have no appetite whatsoever, and bread is nauseating to us. Now, the question arises whether this fourth petition, this prayer for all our physical needs, also implies that when we are in a state of sickness, we may pray the Lord that He sends us recovery, and whether in this fourth petition we have the promise of the Lord that if we pray in faith, He will surely heal us. There always have been, and there still are, those who make this claim. There are preachers that make this healing by faith an essential part of their gospel. And although they do not make this claim on the basis of the fourth petition of then Lord’s Prayer, they nevertheless appeal to Scripture in general. It is an outstanding fact in Jesus’ public ministry that He not only preached the gospel of the kingdom of God, but that He also healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, gave healing to the deaf and sight to the blind, that He cast out devils, and even raised the dead. As we read in Matthew 8:16, 17: “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sickness.” And when the Lord sent out the twelve, He gave them the commission: “Preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Matt. 10:7, 8. Moreover, when the Lord sent His apostles into the world after His resurrection and ascension into heaven, He evidently gave them the same power; and from the book of Acts we learn that they actually employed that power to heal the sick, and even to raise the dead.