Our first word for this third week in Lent is “bread.” The Gospels tell us of a day when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. It was an interesting request because as Jews each of the disciples had been raised with prayer in the synagogue and at home. But in their time with Jesus, something about the way he prayed caught their attention. In their tradition, they prayed as a matter of ritual. In contrast, when Jesus prayed to God his prayers were personal, honest, and trusting. Jesus spoke to God as his father, asked for strength to get him through difficult times, and expressed his confidence that God’s will, no matter how hard it might be, was for the best. And so, Jesus taught them, and us, how to pray. “Give us today our daily bread,” is a part of that prayer.
The request for “bread” in the Lord’s Prayer is not a request for actual bread. It’s much deeper than that. In the book of Exodus, when the people of Israel were wandering through the desert between slavery in Egypt and arrival in the land God intended for them, the people were in need of food and every morning, for forty years, God gave them manna from which they could make bread. It saved them from starvation and death. A couple thousand years later, Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never grow hungry.”
These words in the prayer are a reminder that God gives us what we need on a daily basis and what we need more than anything else is reassurance that God loves us and that we are part of the kingdom of God that is and is to come. What do you need most today to strengthen your faith and to assure you that you can pray, “Thy will be done,” with confidence that God’s will for you will provide you with everything you need to not only survive but thrive? Of course, when we pray this prayer or reflect on these words, we might remember that there are those in our world who don’t have any bread at all – real bread or spiritual bread. Perhaps our prayer needs to include our physically or spiritually hungry neighbor as well.
If one of your meals today includes a piece of bread, I encourage you, as you eat it, to give thanks to God. Give thanks that you not only have the bread to eat but give thanks that Jesus came to be the bread of life who will fill all of our spiritual needs if we daily allow him to be bread for us.
0 Comments on this post: