I've been asked to write this instalment of the church blog. It has been looking at the Lord's Prayer, taking a line at a time, and the next line is .... Give us today our daily bread.
Before I look solely at this line, I thought I should mention that, over the last few months, I've been focusing on the Lord's Prayer as part of my daily devotions. It was interesting to read that Geoff has been doing the same whilst away in America.
I have this following loose routine:
On most weekday mornings, I like to accompany our girls to school and take the dog for his early morning walk. On the way back, I like to pray, and as I do I like to start by repeating the Lord's Prayer.
I understand that the Lord’s Prayer is not just a prayer but also a model for prayer. As I have a mind that likes to wander and am easily distracted, I have made it a habit now to look at each line and think/pray around it and reflect on it, seeing where each word or phrase may take me - which after reading Geoff’s last blog I realise is “riffing” like Martin Luther!
The Lord’s Prayer is found in Matthew 6: 9-13. It is only short and therefore easy to memorise. This is worth doing as you can then call upon it at any time whilst at home, work or out and about - in my case when walking the dog.
As I’ve been asked to write about Give us today our daily bread, here are a few of my thoughts and observations on this line.
Give us: it is collective not just individualistic. It is not give me, but give us. All the way through the prayer it is in the plural.
Our daily bread: it is about us; family, community, the church, belonging together, unity - not just me!!
It is interesting to note today and daily bread. I often think of God as the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but here I’m challenged to see God in today, the present, the here and now, not just the God of miracles in the past or our coming king - but relevant for today. It reminds me of the psalmist, when he says that God is an ever present help in times of trouble. God is interested in us today and more than capable of providing for us.
It also makes you focus on the importance of now: it’s not about next week or next year. He wants us to be; to be in the moment.
When I think of the word bread I am reminded that bread was/is the staple diet; it’s about what we need not what we want. Needs are necessary and wants are not always good for us. Our needs can be very varied. My mind likes to go through lists here: give us peace, love, patience, mercy, grace as well as meeting our material needs.
Daily bread also reminds me of the manna Geoff has been talking to us about from the book of Exodus; God providing for the Israelites in the desert and Jesus being the bread of life. We are not just asking here about physical needs, but also emotional and spiritual needs.
So to conclude: Give us today our daily bread is a conscious reminder to be focusing on today's events, not looking ahead and not looking at the past.
What do we really need today? What do we need God to provide for us today? He is our rock, He is our salvation, He is our eternal hope – and we can trust him with today and live in the present, always relying on God to sustain us.