All of this set me thinking about what "daily bread" might mean. I thought of the story of Moses and the people in the desert. Their "daily bread" was the manna they found every morning. They were instructed only to take what they needed for that day. When some, in fear, greed or distrust, took more than they needed it turned wormy. As a Jewish person, Jesus might well have had that in mind here. So part of the prayer is asking only for what we need - no more, no less - and another part is trusting that what we need will be provided us.
Now at the time the prayer was taught many people literally needed food, so it had a literal meaning. It still does for many in the world today. When we pray "give us this day our daily bread" we pray that all human beings have enough to eat, every day. There is enough for all if no one takes more than he or she really needs, and if no one blocks the distribution of the food.
For those who are fortunate enough to have enough eat, these words may take on a more metaphoric meaning, "give us each day what we need to nourish ourselves in body, mind, heart, and spirit" For the times we want or take more than we really need, these words and that story about the manna remind us not to be greedy.
But some of us, sometimes ask for or take much less that what we need to nourish ourselves. It seems to me the prayer also reminds us that Spirit wants us to have enough. In Matthew's version of the story, Jesus prefaces the prayer by saying God already knows what we need before we ask.
Could it be that Spirit knows if we are not asking for or taking enough? Could it be Spirit might be a bit displeased when we do that? In some ways I take less than what I need to nourish myself - which is why at times I end up feeling exhausted, depleted, and cranky. That does not serve anyone, does it? Not me, not anyone around me.
So I started thinking about what my "daily bread" might be. What do I need to nourish my body, spirit, mind, and heart? My daily list includes sufficient sleep, adequate and healthy food, exercise, loving interactions with others, order and cleanliness in my home, beauty (or rather, mindfulness of it because it is all around), and also meditation and prayer.
Some things I need but not every day, include meaningful work, creativity, and intellectual stimulation. That is my list, so far. What is yours? What is your daily bread? Do you trust that it will be provided you? What would happen if you had and took what you need (not more, not less) to nourish yourself in every way?