We have now come to the part of the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus tells us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” Unfortunately this request, for most of us in the United States, has become almost meaningless. We don’t need to ask the Lord to supply our bread today. We know it’s already sitting over there in the cupboard. However, we should think this through and work at understanding that we really are dependent on the Lord for our food—and for everything.

One of the things I’ve been working on the last few years is becoming thankful for just that—everything. At the forefront of this thankfulness, however, is the attention I’m trying to pay to what we in the United States might think of as little things: food, clothing and shelter. I want my prayer over our meals to be a genuine expression of thankfulness for the Lord’s provision, not simply toss-off prayers that are spoken out of religious tradition and obligation. How quickly we can go there! But I’m also working on giving the same thanks for food on a less formal, personal level—like when I grab a banana for a snack or handful of peanuts. These are the times I’m most likely to forget, and so I find that I’m not really as thankful from my heart as I think I am. If I was really hungry, like someone living in a Sudanese refugee camp, I’d be very, very thankful for that banana or handful of peanuts. And how about a bed to sleep in? Or a roof over my head, out of the weather? Truth be told, I should thank Him for the air I breathe and that my heart is beating. I rarely do that, and I’m not happy to admit it.

Lesson to be learned here: God’s blessing of abundance can cause me to become unthankful and inattentive to my need for His continual supply. I don’t want to go there. Lord, help me not to go there.

There’s another aspect to this request for our Father to supply our daily bread, and it’s spiritual. Just as I find that I’m prone to forget how thankful I should be about the Lord’s physical provision and therefore ask Him to provide it, I also forget to ask the Lord to supply my spiritual bread today. How easy it is for me to just put it on cruise and forget how desperately I need Him. I would like my continual prayer to be—Lord, help me make this my daily prayer—like Paul’s in Philippians 3:10: “that I may know Him.” (The rest of Paul’s prayer in this portion, well, we can deal with that at another time.) It may stun us that Paul, the amazing apostle, would pray this. So we should take note. If Paul prayed this, maybe we should think about praying it as well.

What we should be concerned about—yes, I’ll say even frightened about—is becoming a Laodicean: a person who thinks he is rich but is really quite poor. A person who thinks he sees and understands when he is totally blind. Only the Lord can keep me from becoming like that. My old nature wants to waddle around in complacency and passivity, self-satisfaction and unthankfulness—in the false belief that I am not needy all the time. Lord, help us not become like that. Make us needy. Make us hungry. Make us understand how much we need You.

Give us today our daily bread.