Friday, March 25, 2011

Daily Bread

The other day I was praying as I drove to pick my daughter up from school, and I started to pray the Lord's Prayer.  I am not sure why I don't do this more often, considering it is the very prayer Jesus used when teaching how to pray.  I really should be praying this every day! However, as I spoke the words "Give us this day our daily bread" I felt a sudden sense of conviction and inspiration.  Conviction because I don't always have a daily bread mindset.  Inspiration because of the transformation that would occur if I did.

Let me explain.  Because of the extremely blessed, but also "self-sufficient" society in which I live, I do not necessarily feel dependent on daily bread.  I have enough bread in my pantry for a week.  If I run out, there are grocery stores stocked with more.  But it's not just about food. 

Society constantly stresses having goals and objectives that promise to take us from point A to point B.  Society emphasizes having the perfect plan which will supposedly set us up for the perfect future.  Culture tells us we can "have it all" if we just follow certain rules and sometimes even play certain games with a mindset to win.  Culture says we have the power to control our destinies. Consequently, it becomes easy to live completely in a big picture/make things happen/have it all mindset, without any regard for the daily.  It's easy to think we can control the future, but then freak out when it becomes obvious that we can't.  If we are honest, we are often a stressed out people.  Overwhelmed, and in many cases even depressed.

Our prayers can sometimes reflect that.  They can be last-ditch requests for miraculous results when our own self-made plans and efforts aren't working out like we thought or as we were promised.

Now please don't misunderstand, the Bible teaches about hard work, good stewardship and choices, and wise planning.  I believe all of those things are godly character traits!  Here's where we often go wrong... 

Our efforts to plan for the big picture turn into power and control; and sometimes staring into the often grim portrait of the future the big picture paints can result in fret and worry.  Unfortunately, when we allow things like control and worry in our lives they tend to trump faith and trust, and when faith and trust are replaced with fleshy efforts we lose every time.

*So we beg God to wave a magic wand and fix all of our troubles in an instant, rather than coming to Him in faith and dependence for daily sufficiency.

*We worry and wonder how on earth we will make it another month let alone year after year on this tight budget, yet we don't come to Him to gratefully and humbly ask for provision for the day.

*We ask Him to completely eradicate all extremely stressful situations in our lives and become frustrated if He doesn't, instead of starting our mornings asking Him for the grace and wisdom to deal with whatever this one day will hold, and trusting Him for it.

Okay, friends, I have been guilty of these.  Have you?

But what if we did seek Him for daily sufficiency, what if we did seek Him for daily provision, what if we did ask for the grace and wisdom we will need for the day, and did so each morning with a heart of gratitude

 I think we would have more hope, less stress, more peace, less worry, and a sweeter daily communion with God. That's what I mean by praying with a daily bread mindset.  

It does not surprise me that in Matthew 6, the same chapter where the Lord's Prayer is recorded, Jesus teaches about worry, saying in verse 34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things..." He taught how we are not to worry about what we will eat or wear because God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers, and surely He will take care of us.

 I saw some of the most beautiful flowers this past week at Epcot, and I am assured He is clothing them in splendor! So I can be assured He will take care of us and provide for our daily needs!

All of this reminds me of two lines from Thomas Chisholm's famous hymn: "Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow...great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me."

Greater trust.

Reduced stress.

More hope.

Fewer worries.

Increased dependence on God.

Less reliance on self.

Give us this day our daily bread.


  1. Thank you so much for this blog, I feel like it was written just for me. I really needed to read those words today!

  2. Amen!! Funny... the boys and I just began taking karate about a month ago. The instructor is a Christian, and we begin each class with the Lord's prayer (instead of meditation). I'd never recited it (outside of song), and had never taught it to my boys either. We know it better now though! I agree that it is a wonderful reminder of what our daily mindset's should be. I so desire for my boys to understand this. It's difficult (to nearly impossible) in the culture we live in though...