by Kathleen Petersen

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11 CSB

This portion of the Lord’s Prayer confirms Our Father in Heaven’s desire to daily provide for his children. But which concerns are most critical — physical issues or those centered in the mysterious, unseen realm? A contest between “sacred” and “secular” is unnecessary. The term for this false struggle is Dualism. Here’s a definition:   

Dualism is the idea that all of life can be separated into two main categories: the sacred and the secular. This fragmented vision of reality puts “spiritual” things in the “sacred” category and “worldly” things in the “secular” category.

Scripture makes no such division. In the first chapters of Genesis, God declares both his physical creation and his simple spiritual order as very good.
Genesis 1:31

As we observe and experience the continuing chaos ensuing from man’s attempts to disengage from God, we are presented with a variety of approaches to settle the resulting discomfort. For instance, if your personal chaos is related to a physical illness, does it display greater faith to ask for a certifiable miracle or is it more practical to skip that step and enlist the nearest competent medical professional? Is it okay to relieve emotional distress with just the right amount of counseling, pain relievers or engrossing entertainment or should your first action always be scripture, prayer and fasting?

Here’s another angle to consider. If you have an overabundance of food squirreled away and overstocked grocery stores nearby, praying “Give us today our daily bread” seems extraneous. But if you focus on the “us” part, the petition may morph into “Lord, what do you want me to do with my excess?

In summary, this part of Jesus’ model prayer encourages meditation on how to use God’s intertwined physical and spiritual resources. Furthermore, it prompts us to serve the broken world around us. 

Just for today, look in the refrigerator, freezer or food storage areas of your home while you pray this line of the Lord’s Prayer. Tell a family member or friend about your experience.

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