The Lord’s Prayer is misunderstood. It’s mystical. But – it’s also foundational and informative. Ultimately – it’s our “feedback” to God.
Now, we come to the second section of the Lord’s Prayer—which I would call the petitions—the section where we begin to ask God for things. On the record, we added, in between the songs, the sound of a person who is experiencing the record, or who is listening along with the listener. This person leaves the place where they are and mobilizes—they get into a car, they start the car, they leave and begin driving. That driving sound runs underneath the entire second part of the record. In fact, if you crank up the volume between the songs, you can hear the car still moving. We thought that it was a good metaphor for this second section—which again, is when we begin to ask, but also begin to work. We begin to do “work” which bring these things into being.
So, interestingly, the first think that we ask for is our physical need. “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.” Give us the thing that gives us sustenance to keep us alive. I think, in light of some of the poorest parts of the world, in Africa, for instance, you have to keep people alive in order to nourish them spiritually. Some people say, “Well, you don’t need to feed or give water to these people. You just need to give them the Gospel.” That’s untrue, though, because you can’t teach people about the Gospel if you can’t keep them alive between the beginning and end of your presentation of it.
That being said, there’s no mistake that Jesus, in the first petition, tells us to ask for daily sustenance—that our physical bodies would be strong. In the first century, this would have been a more urgent request, whereas today, in the west and in the twenty-first century, we don’t imagine asking for daily bread. We have, or seem to have, everything that we need. To people who were as poor as many of Jesus’ followers, however, this was an urgent request—as it still is for a majority of people around the world today.
The fact that we’re asking for daily bread implies that we have to ask repeatedly—we have to ask over and over again. Jesus doesn’t say, “Give us what we need for the month and we’ll ration it ourselves.” He says, “Give us what we need for today—just for right now.”
If we’re honest, we probably should be asking for something hourly. In any case, it’s a markedly interesting way to start the second section of The Lord’s Prayer.