On the Lord’s Prayer: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

This petition in the Lord’s Prayer focuses on something very basic: bread. People all over the world eat bread of some form or another, usually daily, and in some cases, for every meal. Asking God to give us our daily bread comes naturally. After all, we look to Him to supply our needs, even our most basic ones like bread. This phrase serves the dual purpose of reminding us that every single thing we have comes from God, while also giving us the opportunity to acknowledge our dependence on Him. The petition serves a third purpose as well: it begs God to give us the one thing we need the most: His Body, in the Holy Eucharist; that through that Gift we may be saved.

Read more about this petition here: 

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“The prayer for our ‘daily bread’ is normally understood to signify generally all of our bodily needs and whatever we require to sustain our lives in this world. In the spiritual tradition however, this petition, because it literally says our ‘essential’ or ‘super-essential’ bread, is often understood in the spiritual sense to mean the nourishment of our souls by the Word of God, Jesus Christ who is the ‘Bread of Life;’ the ‘Bread of God which has come down from heaven and given life to the world’ (John 6:33-36); the bread which ‘a man may eat of it and not die,’ but ‘live forever.’ (John 6:50-51) Thus the prayer for ‘daily bread’ becomes the petition for daily spiritual nourishment through abiding communion with Christ so that one might live perpetually with God.” ~ Read more at https://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/spirituality/prayer-fasting-and-alms-giving/the-lords-prayer

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“After the Korean War ended, South Korea was left with a large number of children who had been orphaned by the war. We’ve seen the same thing in the Vietnam conflict, in Bosnia, and in other places. In the case of Korea, relief agencies came in to deal with all the problems that arose in connection with having so many orphan children. One of the people involved in this relief effort told me about a problem they encountered with the children who were in the orphanages. Even though the children had three meals a day provided for them, they were restless and anxious at night and had difficulty sleeping. As they talked to the children, they soon discovered that the children had great anxiety about whether they would have food the next day. To help resolve this problem, the relief workers in one particular orphanage decided that each night when the children were put to bed, the nurses there would place a single piece of bread in each child’s hand. The bread wasn’t intended to be eaten; it was simply intended to be held by the children as they went to sleep. It was a ‘security blanket’ for them, reminding them that there would be provision for their daily needs. Sure enough, the bread calmed the children’s anxieties and helped them sleep. Likewise, we take comfort in knowing that our physical needs are met, that we have food, or ‘bread,’ for our needs.” ~ from http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-give-us-day-our-daily-bread-mean/

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“The word daily really means ‘substantive,’ that which is essential for survival, which is why we needed it as daily food…The bread signifies here not only bread as such, and not even food in general, but absolutely everything necessary for life, everything which makes possible our existence.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” pp. 55-56

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“The Eucharist, faith in participation in the new food, in the new and Heavenly bread, fulfill the Christian Revelation about food. And only in the light of this revelation, of the joy of this thanksgiving, can one adequately understand the full depth of this fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer; ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ Give us, today, the food which is essential for us.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 60

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“ We receive bread, we receive life, but In order that the purpose of this life may be revealed. And the purpose of this life lies in God, in knowledge of him, in love for him, in communion with him, in the joy of his eternity, and in that life which the Gospel calls,’life in abundance.’ (John 10:10)” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 61

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Idea: Talk about what kinds of bread your family eats. How often do you eat bread? Learn more about breads in other parts of the world. Note aloud how important bread is to the whole world: most parts of the world eat bread in some form or another every day, some at every meal! Take a field trip to local bakeries in your town/city and try breads you haven’t had before. Check out the book “Everybody Bakes Bread” by Norah Dooley (https://www.lernerbooks.com/products/t/6905/9780876148952/everybody-bakes-bread) and read about an adventure that introduces a young lady named Carrie to the different breads in her neighborhood. Expand your bread-baking by trying some of the recipes in the back of the book. (Or, watch some young boys make breads from around the world, here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYx0HSCn-QEXVuEXM30e6ZA!) Talk about the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread” in the context of asking God for things we need, like food to eat. Point out that, to different people in different parts of the world, the actual “bread” may look and taste different, but it is a basic need that God provides for us, every day.

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