then in this way: "Our Father, who is in
heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven
our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the
Kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever.
Amen." (Matthew 6.9-13)
I don't need daily bread. I've got plenty. And what
I haven't got, I can run to the shops and buy.
If I'm short of cash, I've got
credit. I need long-term security, not daily bread.
But just when this part of
the Lord's Prayer seems exclusively applicable to those
in deep poverty (people without a
refrigerator, a pantry, or a bank
light breaks through the fog of my thinking.
None of the Lord's
Prayer makes sense when we live self-sufficient
and comfortable lives. And this brief
petition (midway through the prayer) jolts us
awake. It exposes our independence and raises a
question: Does our lack of daily need
contribute to a daily neglect
As too many of us can attest,
occasional attentiveness to the Father
produces spiritual lethargy, and those with
least need often prove to be least
attentive. If today's provisions are
in hand, we can get back to the Lord later. But that's
precisely what elevates the significance of these seven
"Give us this day our
Just as we're about to ignore it,
the utterance challenges whether we ever need the Father. Is
He a pleasant acquaintance, or the very breath
of our daily existence?
confronts our constant efforts to build barns and
store up for our future. Daily bread, provided by
the Father - much as He sent manna for 40
years while Israel dwelt in the wilderness - ought
be enough. But, for most of us, it's
401k's and 403b's (USA), Social Security
and other Retirement Plans grow increasingly
important. Investments, savings, nest-eggs, life
insurance, equity, capital, stocks, bonds, and mutual
funds can distract us from lives of daily
devotion and dependence.
"Give us this day our
How do the affluent -- who take comfort
in their abundance -- pray such a prayer? Jesus'
inclusion of this modest appeal aligns with His earlier statements in
the same sermon: "Blessed are the poor in spirit
... those who mourn ... those who hunger ...
those who are persecuted." (Matthew 5.3-10)
Just as I'm about
to skip past this unnecessary request for daily
bread, I realize that this simple statement presents both an
indictment and an invitation for me -- for us. May
we hear it, and respond to it.
In HOPE -