“Give us today our daily bread.”
(Matthew 6: 11)
When I start to think about bread, a friend who is the most incredible baker of bread I have ever known, always pops into my head. When she offers to come and see us and bring us some of her fresh baked bread, there is no hesitation in our voices as we agree wholeheartedly we would love to see her (of course not only for that delicious bread). Bread in its various forms has been the most widely consumed food in the whole world for thousands of years, even going back to pre-historic times when it is thought early man mixed gruel with water and let it dry into a paste. Tracing its various components, shapes, recipes through the world’s ethnic groups is quite fascinating and I found it to be a very enlightening study as I was getting ready to write this blog.
Bread is very much a part of Scripture and we first read about it in Genesis when Abram (later to be called Abraham) meets Melchizedek and he blesses Abram;
“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High and he blessed Abram…” (Genesis 14:18)
Bread then takes on a special significance through out the whole Bible until it reaches its most important role in Jesus’ words;
“For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6: 33)
When I was a child, the Lord’s prayer was said every morning at school before actual classes began, but as no one ever explained it to us children we just rattled it off without thinking what it could possibly mean. It wasn’t until I became an adult and a committed Christian that I discovered the powerful message behind those beautiful words and it was only just recently that I grasped the importance of give us our daily bread.
When I was younger I assumed when we used the words, daily bread, we were asking to have enough to eat for the day. Later I assumed it meant more than that and it encompassed all we needed to sustain us such as our finances etc., but when we read Jesus’ words
“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.” (John 6: 47 – 48)
We see the real reason Jesus taught his disciples and us, to ask for our daily bread, lay in the fact we are asking not just for food, far more than that, we are asking for Jesus, the bread of life, to sustain us during the day. Just like we need daily food to sustain us, so too, do we need to ask every day for that infilling of the power of consuming the bread of life. It is such a pity that the Lord’s prayer is often mumbled, rattled off without even thinking about what the powerful words mean and what an amazing change happens, when, before we begin, we ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate these beautiful words so they minister to our souls.
“This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:58)