Monday, July 18, 2011

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

God has more than fulfilled this part of the prayer for me. I very rarely go to bed hungry. If you looked at me you would know that food is not something I have to worry about. I have more than enough.

What if that isn’t what this phrase is saying? What if it is less about my personal food allotment for the day, and more about the hunger in the world? From my perspective that explanation makes more sense than the idea that God only cares about me and my personal comfort.

In Exodus God provides the Israelites’ daily bread in the manna they would collect. Do you remember the rules God gave the Israelites about the manna? He told Moses that they could only collect enough to last their family the day, and they could get twice that on the day before Shabbat (the Sabbath). When the Israelites took more than they needed, the manna was rotten and maggot filled in the morning. They were incapable of storing up the food. God literally had to give them their daily bread.

Can you imagine being in that situation? I’m not just setting up a “we need to feed the world” tirade. I mean, honestly, can you imagine? The faith of the Israelites would be incredible. We have refrigerators and grocery stores. Our food can have preservatives added and can last for a long time. When we hear about bad weather we stockpile cans of vegetables, fruit and soup. Our food doesn’t have maggots in it after a day. We are so blessed. We have our daily bread.
Now, I could talk about all the Bible verses that deal with the need to take care of the orphans and widows. I could talk about the fact that Jesus himself makes reference to feeding the hungry, but I’m not going to really go into depth with that. We all have heard the prophets and Jesus tell us to love other people. We have all heard it so much that it is easy to tune out.

But it is worth mentioning that there are other Christians all over the world who are praying the same prayer. This line is not excluded, but is very present and more real for them than it is for us most of the time. Maybe we are the answer to their prayer. How can I continue to pray for God to give me my daily bread when they don’t get theirs? Maybe the prayer can remind me to let God use me to answer the same prayer in someone who really has nothing. Perhaps that is why it is plural; Give us this day our daily bread.

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