Give us today our daily bread.

I was raised in a home where we each invented our own prayers, using simple language to ask God for what we needed. This is a good way to deliver the message that God is not a ritual, but a person to whom we can speak. There is a flipside, too. Lately, I’ve turned to the Lord’s Prayer to frame my prayers. With my hatred of text books where authors replace great literature with their own paltry efforts, I had the epiphany that I was doing the same thing with my prayers. Jesus said it all in that simple paragraph. Whenever I say it, I follow my first duty to worship God, I request that the world’s problems be solved, I ask for my daily bread, for forgiveness of sins, and for help in preventing my participation in anything evil.

When I add prayers for my family and anything else that is bothering me, that pretty much covers everything.

The one sentence that humbles me most is not my request for forgiveness of sins. It’s the request for daily bread that galls my pride. What I really want is the assurance of bread for the next six months or year or six years or the rest of my life. I don’t want to ask daily to be fed. I want to be freed from such reliance — independent from such petty concerns.

It is quite wonderful how that simple request puts me right where I need to be, humbly asking for simple necessities and receiving them with thanks.

Each day, I request my daily bread and feel the mortification. It’s good for me, I know. It’s good to feel the pride diminish and my reliance upon God increase. Though the pain of having my illusion of self-sufficiency stripped away smarts, there is a rightness to it that my soul recognizes.

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