Summary: God’s provision, our contentment, and our need to share with others physical & spiritual bread
"Our Daily Bread"
Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts
Did you know you can now send an email to God? An Israeli internet company (www.virtual.co.il) has announced that they will take email prayers to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Customarily people write prayers and place them in cracks of the wall. I did so when I visited Israel some years ago. But we don’t need to email God-His lines of communication are always open to us-with or without an internet connection!
When we pray "Give us this day our daily bread" we’re showing that we’re depending on God a day at a time. Jesus urges us, "Don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing….Do not worry about tomorrow" (Mt 6:31, 34). Within our request is the faith-knowledge that God will provide. With confidence we make our needs known to God.
The first half of the Lord’s Prayer is directed to God-His paternity, His person, His program, His purpose. Now we move to our need for provision, pardon, protection, and preservation. The order is intentional-we honor God before raising personal needs. Jesus expresses this order when He says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you" (Mt 6:33). We begin in prayer praising God, then we make our requests known-admitting we have needs which only God can fill.
Have you ever not known where your next meal was coming from? We usually have more than enough food for ourselves, so this request may seem remote. We can have any kind of food we wish. In our abundance we forget that God is the Source of our provision-that without God we would not prosper at all. He brings the sun and the rain, He causes the crops to grow; He gives us intelligence and ability to earn bread. When I pastored two African-American congregations I learned appreciation for the small miracles of life. I regularly heard prayers thanking God for getting us up in the morning, and getting us on our way. When was the last time we were thankful for such simple gifts? We shouldn’t take the ordinary blessings of life for granted.
One time I was participating in an Army field exercise and a soldier posed a question about our field rations (those "Meals-Ready-to-Eat"): "Chaplain, should MRE’s get ’grace’ or ’last rites’?" It’s important that we’re thankful for whatever God provides-even things we may not like. Do we offer thanks regularly for our food, even when we’re in public? I’m reminded of Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of a Mother and son praying over their meal at a table shared with two young men. When we thank God before a meal we’re acknowledging that He has provided for our needs. We’re not indifferent. Scripture says that our food is "sanctified", set apart when it is received with thanksgiving (I Tim 4:4-5).
The Apostle Paul tells us, "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (I Cor. 10:31). How can eating food be to God’s glory? When we remember the Source of our food and the capacity we have to enjoy it.