“Give us this day our daily bread” – Matthew 6
Most of the clauses in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples are simple, this one seems more direct, more human than any of the others. It deals with food, and most of us try to eat every day when we can, more frequently if possible.
This could be a simple thanks over a meal. It recognizes the source of food is fundamentally beyond our control no matter what we do or how hard we work. Any farmer could tell you the same. At least one year while living in North Carolina, I saw crops taken out from ill weather – it was heavy rain and hail that time, but droughts can ruin crops.
No matter how hard we work, we need God’s blessing just to eat.
This clause asks then the most direct human question of all, let our work, let our play, let our lives continue on, give us something to eat.
It also provides another insight into what Jesus is teaching about prayer.
Prayer is a daily thing, a daily interaction with the divine. A daily coming to the source of all life. We weren’t made to function without interaction with God. That’s how were built, prayer is a ritual, and it can become ‘just’ a ritual. In other words it can be an empty recitation, and empty practice.
Jesus recognizes that we need the ritual.
It something to practice, we practice thinking, listening, and speaking with God. The ritual creates the space where that can happen.