A few years ago, I lay in bed running through my usual nightly prayer routine: the Our Father, then Hail Mary, followed by Glory Be, and finally my own conversation with God. While I sped through the prayers lightening fast, it occurred to me:
“What is the purpose of repeating these words every night if I don’t even think about them?”
Ever since then, instead of repeating each prayer from memory under my breath like I did for the first few decades of my life, I've been praying it mindfully, carefully, meaning every single word. And, yes, while it takes longer to finish when I’m so sleepy and ready to close my eyes for the night, thinking about each line and what they mean while I pray them has changed how I understand who God is and what it means to have real faith in Him.
Now that I’ve spent a couple of years thinking more intentionally about each line in the Our Father, I’ve gained great admiration for one line in particular:
"Give us this day our daily bread."
What does this mean, I’ve asked myself? What is this “daily bread” we ask God for? To me, right now, two things stand out the most:
- We must rely on God, trusting Him fully, to give us what we need when we need it.
- What we need is not what we think it is. Only God knows what that is.
To live this out fully, to trust God to show us what we need and then provide it, is a difficult undertaking. To the modern person raised to excel at the “rat race” culture we witness in our schools and our businesses, this probably seems even impossible. My advice? Start slowly. Pray about it and ask God to show you the way, to grant you more trust, to gift you with the freedom of putting your entire life in His hands. Ask and you shall receive.