“Therefore, take no thought saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Your Heavenly Father knoweth you have need of these things…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6: 31-34
“Give Us This Day, Our Daily Bread.”
Matthew 6: 11
“Giver of life and all good gifts;
Grant us also wisdom to use only what we need;
Courage to trust our bounty;
Imagination to preserve our resources;
Determination to deny frivolous excess;
And inspiration to sustain through temptation.”
Am I willing to trust God to meet my needs every day?
This past week, my husband had a doctor’s appointment and afterward, our journey home took us right by one of my favorite spots – a bakery! Now before your imagination thinks cream puffs and éclairs, (which is where my mind goes when I hear the word “bakery”), this bakery has one specialty – fresh bread. The bread is made every day – but what makes this even better is that the owners buy organic grain; grind it themselves; and this becomes flour used in the different varieties of whole grain breads they make.
I asked Jim to stop and as I entered the shop, let’s just say, every saliva gland in my mouth was on high alert! The smell was enough to send a person into ecstasy. Right by the cash register, the bakery owners always have the “taste of the day” – chunks of some specialty bread, hot out of the oven, with fresh jam and butter sitting close by to fuel runaway appetites.
Needless to say, I purchased the bread – my freezer is packed! And for the next few weeks we are well supplied with nourishing whole grain loaves for sandwiches, midnight snacks and any other time we’d like to take away our hunger.
My recent trip to the bakery inspired me to ask this question: “Why did Jesus tell us to pray, ‘Give us this day our daily bread?’” Why did He choose bread, not chocolate chip cookies?
I have a few thoughts I would like to share with you on the subject of eating daily bread. I’m going to give you four reasons I think Jesus used “bread” specifically in this prayer.
1.) Bread is basic. Bread is not complicated food. Even in countries where severe drought ravages the land, given flour and water, people can make bread. It isn’t too complicated, too fancy, or too expensive. The word here is: BASIC.
2.) Bread is home. Even in poverty-stricken areas, I’ve seen mothers in humble dwellings, making bread for their families. My love of homemade bread was cultivated in my grandma’s kitchen as I watched her gentle hands knead love into every loaf of bread she ever made. The word here is: HOME.
3.) Bread is nourishing. Bread is one of those foods my body needs to be healthy. For most individuals, bread is easy to digest and gives us strength and energy. The word here is: NOURISHING.
4.) Bread is filling. I don’t know about you but if I want to take away that little hungry feeling, a slice of homemade bread toasted and covered with fresh apricot preserves, does the trick for me. The word here is: FILLING.
Bread is basic – simple. It makes me think about home – family. It is nourishing – necessary. It is filling – it takes away my hunger. These are four great reasons for Jesus to tell us to pray that our daily bread will be supplied. But let’s broaden our view of asking our Heavenly Father to meet our temporal needs. Here’s how these four words can apply to the requests I make of my Heavenly Father.
- Does what I am asking Him for meet a basic, simple need? Or do I want something so fancy and so unnecessary, it isn’t a legitimate “need” at all?
- Does what I am asking Him for take the needs of my family into consideration? Am I looking out for those I love?
- Does what I am asking Him for nourish not only my body, but also my mind and most of all my soul?
- Does what I am asking Him for fill me to overflowing so I have something to share with others?
When we come to God with our list of requests, I think the four words we have focused on provide a wonderful guide in regard to the “asks” we have.
There’s something else though that is unique about Jesus telling us to use the word “bread” in our prayer to His Father. In John 6: 35, Jesus, talking to the multitude said, “I am the bread of life.” Not only should we ask God to meet our temporal needs every day but our spiritual as well.
Looking at our four words, let’s see how they apply to our daily spiritual life – our partaking of Jesus. Jesus is basic to my life. He is the foundation, for without Him, everything else would crumble. He is my home, my safety, my family, and my security. Walking with Him every day, I am nourished by His presence until I am so filled up, I am overflowing to others in my life. Is it any wonder that Jesus used the example of bread so frequently not only in meeting our temporal but our spiritual needs as well?
One last thing, in the phrase, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” The word “daily” is used in both versions of the Lord’s Prayer, but there’s one other place where we find “daily” used in this same way and it is in Exodus 16 where God tells the children of Israel to collectonly enough “manna” for each day. As you may recall, when the children of Israel left Egypt and traversed across a barren desert wasteland for years, they had to totally rely on God for their water and food. And from God’s gracious hands they were given just enough “manna” each day for their families’ needs. If they became greedy and wanted more than their share, the leftover manna spoiled. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus is saying the same thing to me and to you. Gluttony, greed, and avarice, are not qualities of His kingdom. If we ask Him for our simple, basic needs, He will simply supply us with all we need each day – no more, no less.
Several weeks ago, I was worrying my silly head off about a situation I knew I would encounter several months from now. All of a sudden one day when I was praying, I realized so much of my time and energy was being spent on my anxiety about the future, I had forgotten to thank God for meeting my needs. As the song goes, “Lord, for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray. Just keep me, guide me, Lord for today.”
“Give us this day, our daily bread.”
You Open Wide Your Hand
“The eyes of all look to You in hope and You give them their food in due season. You open wide Your hand, and fill all things living with Your bounteous gift.”
Psalm 145: 15, 16
King James Version
who is in us here on earth,
Holy is your name
In the hungry who share their bread and their son.
Your Kingdom come,
A generous land where confidence and truth reign.
Let us do your will,
Bring a cool breeze for those who sweat.
You are giving us our daily bread
When we manage to get back our lands
Or to get a fairer wage.
For keeping silent in the face of injustice
And for burying our dreams.
Don’t let us fall into the temptation
Of taking up the same arms as the enemy,
But deliver us from evil which disunites us.
And we shall have believed in humanity and life
And we shall have known your Kingdom
Which is being built for every and ever.”
Bread for the Hungry
to those who have hunger,
and to those who have bread
give the hunger for justice.”
Latin American Prayer
(Our Affirmations today are written by individuals living in poverty-stricken countries. May we be so filled with God’s generous heart, we share with those in needs.)
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.