Give us this day our daily bread. (NRSV)
One remarkable aspect of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray is that our asking for things for ourselves comes halfway through the prayer. Our prayers, sadly, can become dominated by our asking for things. They can become insistent shopping lists. And so we omit things like praise and thanksgiving, or confession. In our haste to tell God what we want, we don’t get into our heads the character of the God to whom we pray.
However, Jesus does want us to bring our wants and needs to him. He knows about them already so no harm at all in verbalising them. We know from experience that not every request is answered the way we might expect or desire.
But the point of making our requests known is not that we see God as some kind of cosmic vending machine dispensing answers as we put a coin of faith in the slot. Rather, when we pray such petitions, we express our utter dependence on God and deepen our relationship with him by opening our hearts to him.
And one more thing: this petition seems to hint at God giving us enough to sustain us. We are not asking for luxuries but for necessities. For bread, not caviar. Though we may still have to ponder: what about those who die of starvation even as they ask for bread to sustain them?
Another reminder that this side of heaven, things go terribly wrong. Another reminder that prayer does not solve every problem or banish every hardship. And so a reminder that shopping list type prayer leads to disillusionment. Helpless dependence type prayer allows u to press on.