Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” You can picture it, and so can I. A sixteen-year-old girl stands at her open closet door packed from floor to ceiling with shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, sweaters, coats, and all kinds of other clothes. Her eyes scan back and forth, up and down. She pushes clothes on hangers left and right, looking for something . . . anything that suits her fancy. Her face is locked in an expression bordering somewhere between disappointment and disgust. Then she says it. While standing in front of a wall of clothes that could dress a medium-sized village of people, she cries out, “I don’t have anything to wear!”

Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”

A thirteen-year-old boy spends five minutes rummaging through the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator looking for a snack. He scans the six kinds of cereal lined up in colorful boxes. He passes over two kinds of toaster pastries because the fruity filling (with little actual fruit) is not his favorite. He snarls in disgust at the half-dozen beverage options because someone else has finished his favorite flavor of soda and has dared to leave the empty bottle in the fridge just to taunt him. At last he shouts at the top of his lungs, so his parents, the neighbors, and all of heaven can hear, “There’s nothing to eat in this house!”

Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”

It is painful to watch a teenager complain about “nothing to wear” or “nothing to eat,” when they, for most of them, actually have more than enough. Sadly, this attitude does not seem to go away as we grow past adolescence into adulthood. In some cases, it only gets worse. We can find ourselves comparing what we have to those around us, only adding to the feeling that we don’t have enough.

How do we learn to pray for daily bread when eight-year-olds carry around cell phones that cost as much as a family’s full-year income in many parts of the world? What does it mean to ask God for enough bread for the day when we live in a meat-and- potato world? What does this portion of the Lord’s Prayer say to those living in a time of abundance and plenty?

John Ortberg and Kevin & Sherry Harney, The Lord’s Prayer: Praying with Power (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).

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