We Need Bread

“Day by day the manna fell; O to learn this lesson well! Still, by constant mercy fed, Give me, Lord, my daily bread.” – Josiah Conder by Lieutenant Mike McGee

I used to hate the sound of babies crying. When we had our son, Josh, he cried constantly. We hardly ever slept. Many nights before Josh turned one, he would only sleep if we walked with him in our arms. Sometimes when he cried, there was nothing wrong. We would change him, feed him, burp him, pick him up, put him down, and nothing would calm him. As he grew, Josh became better at communicating his needs, and now only cries in times of deep distress, like when his sister takes one of his toys.

As you can imagine, I began to hate any TV show, radio broadcast, movie, or advertisement where the sound of a baby crying was reproduced. “Don’t I get enough of this without them playing it on TV?” 

A few years later we had Anna. When she was born, she was unable to breathe. Her little lungs were full of fluid that she didn’t have the strength to expel. But she didn’t cry. Nurses worked frantically, machines beeped, and I was asked to stay out of the way. My wife, Rebecca, was anxious and unable to see because of the sheet drawn above her belly. But our baby wouldn’t cry. Rebecca asked how Ann was, and I said, “She’s doing great.” In reality, I was scared to death because my baby girl wouldn’t cry.

They eventually took Anna to the NICU, where she was fed via tube, breathed via tube, and disposed of waste via natural processes. For a few days, I dreamed of the day Anna would cry. 

The first half of the Lord’s Prayer addresses the magnificence and omnipotence of God. “Father in Heaven. Hallowed name. Your Kingdom Come.”

One line, which has always confused me, acts as a pivot in this prayer. As a child, I struggled to understand why we prayed for bread at bedtime. But lately, I have come to see great meaning in this simple request. “Give us this day our daily Bread.” This line moves us from the magnificence of God to the neediness of man. 

In the ancient world, bread was essential for survival. He who had bread lived. Asking for daily bread is not asking for something we would like, but rather is asking for something we need – something essential to survival. Moreover asking God for bread indicates an understanding that aside from God’s provision, I might not have bread to eat today.

We must understand daily bread is so much more than just food. We have the opportunity to bring any need before our Heavenly Father. However, we also must understand that we are not speaking about wants or those wants we misconceive as needs.

When we ask God for daily bread in the Lord’s Prayer, we acknowledge there are things we need which we lack the capacity to gain without God’s provision. God is like a father waiting for his child’s first sound. When we say, “God, I need bread” or “God, there are things I need which I am incapable of providing without your help,” we take a big breath and cry out to our heavenly Father. He hears our cries and meets our needs because there is something special about the sweet sound of the silent child crying out for the first time.

As we realize the nature and weight of our sin and the power and Holiness of God, we realize the standards for eternal life with God are far greater than we can ever achieve alone. We cry out, “God, I need bread.” We need a bread that can be broken for us, a bread that can bear our sins, a bread that can make us Holy and pure before the mighty maker of the universe. God hears the sweet cries of His children, and in the person of Jesus Christ declares:

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again…”

John 6:35 NLT

Anna learned to cry within a few days of her birth, and I no longer dread the sound of crying babies. I now have an appreciation for the sweet sound of a small child calling for help. The cries of infants signify breath and life. They are calls to parents who can meet that child’s deepest needs. Every 2:00 am wail reverberates with the simple truth of the gospel; “I need.” We need. We need bread. “Give us, Lord, Our Daily Bread.”