Just before he offers this prayer, Jesus reassures his followers that God knows what they need before they ask. Later, he points out that the birds do not till the soil and yet are fed; the lilies of the field do not spin and yet are gloriously clothed. I don’t think he is suggesting that we all sit around watching TV, waiting for food and clothes to magically appear. What he is suggesting, indeed what he says outright, is to “not be anxious about your life.” What Jesus teaches is to trust God.
The Tao Te Ching teaches a similar lesson. “The truly good man does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone.” Like Jesus, Lao Tsu is not suggesting sloth, but rather a non-ego approach to life, an approach based not in fear but in faith, faith in the Tao, or the Way.
Buddhism reflects this in the concepts of Right Thought, Right Effort, Right Action, and in trusting in the basic goodness of the universe.
I would love to hear from Hindu and Muslim readers about similar concepts.
And even beyond specific faith traditions, we see this idea reflected in Einstein’s observation about choosing whether to see the universe as hostile or friendly. I choose the latter.
And so, if I choose to believe in the basic goodness of the universe, and I do, then why would I need to ask for my daily bread?
When I wake up every morning, it is my habit to say a prayer just as I am coming into consciousness. Because my brain is still fuzzy, it is easier to say a prayer from habit. I often choose the Lord’s Prayer, but with a few modifications. Instead of praying “Give us this day our daily bread,” I pray “Thank you this day for our daily bread.”
It’s a small change, but with a big impact. I start my day in faith that all will be well. This is true even if on the surface it might not seem that way to me. I have faith that all things work together for good. I start my day in gratitude.
How do you start your day? Do you have any prayers or habits or routines that get your day off to a good start?
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About the Author: Galen Pearl’s stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and A Cup of Comfort anthologies, and her popular blog, 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There), attracts thousands of readers every month. Recently retired from teaching law, she regularly leads retreats and workshops on developing habits to grow a joyful spirit. A Southern girl transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she enjoys her five kids and two grandchildren, martial arts, her cabin in the mountains, and mahjong.