Our daily bread
I’ve always prayed this prayer in a straight through manner to get to this line. This is the good bit. It’s the Father Christmas line. Give us the good stuff, today, now.
I suspect this isn’t what Jesus had in mind when he taught the prayer. God is not Father Christmas. Loving Father God, yes, but not Father Christmas. How many of us have begged for gifts which are all the rage? All shiny and fashionable. The joy lasts until the scratches start to appear. If God gives us a gift, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that it is something that will last and is not subject to the whims of fashion.
Without being there, I’m not completely sure, but I bet that those listening to Jesus’s words would have understood “Give us today’s bread”, in completely different way than we might today. Sure, as Jews they would be more than familiar with the account of the bread from heaven, Manna. The 6 days a week miracle (double dose on day 6) which happened for a full 40 year period. It would be a hard thing to forget.
Jesus chooses his words with care. He uses them on purpose. When he includes this line in the prayer, it’s because He knows that God wants us to ask for what we need. When “Luke” wrote his account of Jesus’ life, right after his description of Jesus teaching his disciples this prayer he goes on describe how Jesus really wants us to ask for things from God. The point I am trying make here is that God wants us to make requests to Him.
To flatter his ego? So that we are like beggars pleading a crust from a bored king? No. God wants to us to ask, because He want to give. And He can. And He does. There is only one catch. Go back a little .. “Your will be done ..”. “Let things on earth be just like there are in heaven.”. If I ask God that the my son’s school bullies drop-dead, I’m 110% certain that God won’t answer that prayer. If I pray I ask God to reach and touch and friend, He will. I’ve seen it happen often. If I cry out to God that we are broke and everything just sucks and we need a miracle, somehow things just work out. I can’t believe this is just about bread. I have to believe that God has our very best interests at heart. The plans He has for us? Oh, they are amazing. They are plans to give us hope and a future. Even when it might seem there is no future.
GOD! Give us bread for today. Because we have none. Because I believe it’s your desire to look after us. Give me strength to face another day at work. Fill the empty spaces inside me with your ‘bread’. In the midst of a tough week when I’ve often been nearly in tears in my heart, I’ve been asking God for sign, a hug. Moments later a colleague walks past and gives me chocolate. Daily bread, piece of chocolate. It’s all the same to God, and that person didn’t even know God.
I’m sure that people on the breadline, those in real and constant poverty plead this daily. I’m sure the God hears that prayer, and I’m sure that He wishes that His people would pick up the damn phone and listen to what He is saying about the neighbour who needs a friend and a hot meal.
Sure, God can send Manna and probably still does on occasion, but I think He would rather that we practice loving each other and being Christ’s physical body in the middle of our messy broken world. Isn’t it better that when someone cries out to God for help; that one of us hears God’s voice and becomes the answer to that prayer.
We have a Father God, who’s kingdom on this earth would be amazing. He can fill our every need, every day, with His own special bread.