We come to the part of this beautiful prayer where Jesus leads us to express our needs. There are three requests–Give us our bread, forgive us our debts, and lead us not into temptation–and we’ll consider the first one tomorrow.
The one about the bread is the only one that has to do with physical needs, and it’s very brief. You’ll notice there’s nothing extraordinary there–no requests for luxuries, obviously, and not even a request for something more than simply bread.
Now the bread represents something more than bread, I think; it probably stands for our recognition of the fact that all of our physical needs are supplied by the Creator. This part of the prayer is not just a request; it’s an acknowledgment. We recognize that if we are to have food to eat, it’ll come from the Father. If we have breath and health, they’ll come from the Father.
In fact, praying about the bread faithfully comes only when we’ve prayed the first part. We don’t just pray according to what we think we need, but rather after we’ve acknowledged that God–his kingdom, his will–is what we’re after. It’s not about the bread; it’s about the Father.
There’s nothing wrong with our making requests–a point we’ll make clear tomorrow–it’s just that we need to move beyond the personal requests to receive something more important.