Daily Bread

        All Christian people presumably ask for daily bread, and it would be very interesting and instructive as well to learn what this means to a thousand different petitioners who make their requests to the one Father in heaven. We have all heard of the child who naively wished to add a little to the petition for bread, and while we may smile at this, it cannot be denied that most people want a good deal more than what is conveyed by a literal sense of the petition mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Not many, indeed, would venture to say that simple food for the present day measured in any wise the desire underlying this petition. It is however likely that few if any would be ready to say just what they have in mind when they present this request, which is surely a proper one since it was framed by the Master. He taught that, whatever be the need, it is well for us to turn to “our Father” before we take a single step toward the securing of a supply. If our desires are narrow, selfish, and unworthy, as is too often the case, the approach to God will change them if we are at all sincere, and will purify us and our prayers.

         In that wonderful eighth chapter of Romans Paul says, “We know not what we should pray for as we ought;” then he tells of the searching of the heart, and of the spiritual intercession which is “according to the will of God.” No one can deny that prayer and desire need to be spiritualized because our real needs are spiritual, and we cannot too often remind ourselves of this. Even the deep spiritual significance of the Lord’s Prayer may be obscured and the blessing missed by a material sense of need, but to one who is only beginning to understand the teachings of Christian Science the spiritual sense of daily bread as given on page 17 of Science and Health is almost startling. It reads: “Give us grace for today; feed the famished affections.” Now we are told again and again that God is gracious, and we are also told that God’s likeness, as manifested by Christ Jesus, was “full of grace and truth,” so much so that people “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.” In this we find a true model for ourselves, and we may well seek this grace as part of our daily bread.

         The second clause of the petition, which refers to “the famished affections,” is undoubtedly more difficult to comprehend than that which relates to grace; yet they are essentially one, and nowhere is the deep spirituality of our Leader’s teachings more clearly shown than in these words. From their earliest hours mortals crave love; even a little babe will ask for it in its earliest lispings; yet the affections are never satisfied until the divine source is understood. The wise man made no mistake when he said, “If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” The pity, the tragedy, of human experience is that mankind seek love from a mortal and material source, and instead of bread they find “a stone;” but not so does God give. Those who lift up their hearts to divine Love “hunger no more” for affection, for Love feeds them and leads them “unto living fountains of waters,” and all tears are wiped from their eyes, so we are told in St. John’s vision.

         If any ask how this living bread is to be secured, it may be answered that we must know God as Love and radiate love to all around us, remembering Jesus’ words to his disciples in the presence of the five thousand hungry people when he said, “Give ye them to eat.” It will not do for us to absorb love merely; we must reflect it, and thus we shall find that our affections are no longer famished, but fed. We shall also find that when this our greatest need is met, all the lesser needs will one by one be supplied.

         St. Paul prays that we may be “rooted and grounded in love,” and it is certain that unless we are, we can never really grow either in grace, in strength, or in symmetry. We may well ponder each day, when we seem to lack anything, these words of Christ Jesus: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.”


"Daily Bread"
by Annie M. Knott, CSD

Christian Science Sentinel, September 18, 1915

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