Give us this day our daily bread…

Daily Bread in Tough Times


Lord, thank you for including “daily bread” in your prayer.  I need to pray about daily needs and obligations.  It is the temporal, the nagging, the worrisome, and the persistency of these daily challenges that, at times, and more times than I care to admit, plague me.

Daily bread means different things dependent on your location in the world.  It is one thing in Darfur to ask for daily bread and quite another in a suburb of Nashville Tennessee.  The middle class family experiences the “essential comforts” of life harder to come by than they used to be (the economy is in a bit of a mess right now).  The troubles and worries of the wealthy are real, yet so distant from the fears and struggles at the poverty line.  But, all people have daily concerns.

Lord, I need to talk with you about my daily bread – bluntly, my daily bills.  The “bread” I face is what I need and what I owe.  It’s money.  You know, Lord, whenever money is on the table, people change, I change.  In a simple word – help me change for the better, to be true to my best in you.

Yet, to write this prayer is a fearful thing… what does it mean?  That is, what does it mean for me; what will you require of me?  How do I need to change?

Do I need to spend less?  Or spend different?  This is an issue of priorities.  What really counts?  What matters?  Should I do something different?  Should I earn more?  This is an issue of purpose.  Where should I put my energy and time?

Lord, I can change the way I spend and, to some degree, the way I earn.  But, the deeper change is more challenging.  Daily bread becomes an obsession.  It becomes something to fret over.  It quickly is all consuming.  This is an issue of presence; its presence in my thoughts and fears can be cancerous.  The worries of daily bread start to eat me alive.

Jesus taught us to pray for the daily bills, obligations, and needs.  What an extraordinary invitation.  It says to me that you, Lord, are interested and concerned.  Your eternal grace is within the need for daily bread.

I look at the prayer Jesus taught us to pray.  I find my Heavenly Father, the Holy Name, and, there it is – my need for daily bread.  I look at the prayer again.

Our Father who art in heaven, holy is your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…

I see that the words between the Holy Name and my daily Bread is filled with “Your Kingdom” and “Your Will.” This prayer determines my priority and perspective.  Even in “daily bread” may “your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”


Copyright © Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.

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