Daily bread…really? Not something more spiritual? Are you as surprised as I once was, that the first thing Jesus instructs us to ask, for ourselves and others, is something so physical as daily bread? We might have thought that Jesus would begin the petitions for the Father’s family by asking for forgiveness or deliverance from evil. But no! “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Read the Gospels and see Jesus’ concern for people’s ordinary, everyday needs, even working miracles to provide for their bread. Or, reflect on Jesus’ marvelous story about a prodigal son and his hunger for bread. As Jesus tells the story, the prodigal did not return home wanting forgiveness, but because he remembers “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough to spare, but here I am dying of hunger” (Luke 15:17). Jesus lived in a subsistence culture on the edge of poverty and knew the gnawing pain of hunger (Matthew 4:2). Thus, Jesus teaches us, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Jesus teaching us to pray for our daily bread fits with what Jesus taught about the birds of the air and our heavenly Father’s care for them (Matthew 6:26). Thus, as we consider the birds and Jesus’ logic that we are of “more value than they” (Matthew 6:26), we are bold to ask Father for the bread we need today. Jesus teaches us not to be anxious, “What will we eat?” (Matthew 6:31).
We ask Father for our daily bread, but not our daily cake; our needs and not our greeds. Having first aligned ourselves with our Father’s kingdom purpose, we are bold to talk with Him about our need for bread. This is naturally what children do as we love and trust the One we call “Our Father.” So, the apostle Paul instructs: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER (MORNING-NOON-NIGHT)