Thursday, July 7, 2016


In the popular TV comedy series, “EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND,” now in reruns, each time adult, married, now-a-father Raymond comes across the street from his house to the kitchen of his parents' house, the first thing his mother Marie always asks is “Are you hungry? I'll make you something to eat.”

Those of us who are Moms can relate to that, even if our children are adults and out on their own. Because we've spent their growing years preparing food for them from infancy at least through their teens, our first thought even today when they walk through our door may be the same as Raymond's Mom. We are always concerned with their proper nourishment. 

Since I'm a mom, a grandma, and a great-grandma, by this time my cooking and baking days should be minimal. But I'm still "providing bread!"

I've brought this need for bread for my family into my prayers for my four adult sons, three of whom are already fathers in their own right and two are grandfathers. In fact, I pray for bread for the rest of my family too, for my 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, all the in-laws and the rest of our family tree. And I extend that prayer to my friends. 

I pray as Jesus taught, “Give them this day their daily bread,” from what we call “The Lord's Prayer” in Matthew 6:11. God "gives to all the living their food in due season” (Psalm 104:27, 28) and I may simply ask God for it.

Am I praying for literal bread, the flour-baked kind? No, not even necessarily for food, although that might be included in the need of the one for whom I pray, or the job to earn the bread. Jesus told us not to be anxious for what we should eat or drink. (Matthew 6:25-34) He mentioned anxiety five times in that passage. What is there about “don't be anxious” that we can't understand? We should seek first the Kingdom of God and all those things shall be added to us. 

A wider meaning of “bread” is whatever is necessary for life, whatever The Good Shepherd provides so that we “shall not want” [shall not lack]. (Psalm 23:1) “Bread” stands for “every good thing sufficient for the sustenance of life.” In praying for bread for someone, it is “for the nourishment life requires, for all appropriate goods and blessings, both material and spiritual.”

A still broader implication of my “Bread Prayer” is that the one for whom I am praying will have a growing relationship with Jesus who declared, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst...I am the Living Bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:26-58) Here Jesus' words foreshadow the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper. “My flesh is true food...he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life...and abides in Me, and I in him...and shall live forever.”

When I pray for “bread today” for someone, it is not only for them to be blessed and provided for this day in mortal time for the material necessities of their pilgrimage, but also in the “today of God,” in the eternal aspect. My petition includes prayer for their eternal status with God.

Even if I'm short on time I can quickly pray, “FATHER, GIVE HIM THIS DAY HIS DAILY BREAD” when praying for my child or my friend. I don't need to go into detail with Our Father who is in Heaven and tell Him how to slice the bread I ask for.
Or whether I want Him to spread butter and jam on it. It is an all-encompassing heart prayer all in one package, one petition.

I don't know precisely what to pray for. Therefore, Jesus Himself told me how to pray and what to say. I pray His words back to Him. He is living in Heaven praying for us (Hebrews 7:25) and He knows very well how to break that bread I'm praying for, and distribute it according to the need of the one for whom I pray. He alone can satisfy whatever the hunger is in their lives.

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