Trusting God fully means learning to ask for our bread, day by day. To those of us who live in a world of efficient farming, industrial bakeries, and super-sized grocery stores, asking for our daily bread may seem a quaint, too trivial petition. Not so, says Richard Foster in today’s post.
Jesus immerses himself in our daily needs, and when he instructed us to ask for our bread—just enough for the day—he was teaching us that nothing is beneath his notice, and not even our nourishment is possible without his provision. So, we can rest assured that our “1,001 trifles” are each important to him.
What seems too small to bother the Lord with today? Can we boldly take it to him anyway?
If we were not so familiar with the Lord’s Prayer, we would be astonished at the petition for daily bread. If it had come from the lips of any other than Jesus himself, we would consider it an intrusion of materialism upon the refined realm of prayer. But here it is smack in the middle of the greatest of prayers: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
When we think about it for a moment, though, we realize that this prayer is completely consistent with Jesus’ pattern of living, for he occupied himself with the trivialities of humankind. He provided wine for those who were celebrating, food for those who were hungry, rest for those who were weary (John 2:1-12; 6:1-14; Mark 6:31). He went out of his way to find the “little people”: the poor, the sick, the powerless. So it is fully in order that he invites us to pray for daily bread.
In doing so Jesus has transfigured the trivialities of everyday life. Try to imagine what our prayer experience would be like if he had forbidden us to ask for the little things. What if the only things we were allowed to talk about were the weighty matters, the important things, the profound issues? We would be orphaned in the cosmos, cold, and terribly alone. But the opposite is true: he welcomes us with our 1,001 trifles, for they are each important to him.
We pray for daily bread by taking to God those trifles that make up the bulk of our days. Are we unable to find a babysitter to care for the children while we are at work? Well, then, we pray for daily babysitters. Do we need a little space to think things out? Then we pray for daily solitude and rest. Is it a warm sweater or gloves that we need because of the bitter cold? We ask for clothing, day by day. Are we struggling with a relationship at work or at home? We ask for patience and wisdom and compassion—daily, hourly. This is how we pray for daily bread.
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Excerpted from Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard J. Foster (HarperOne, 1992), pp. 185-186, and used with permission.