Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Pray then like this: Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13
Good morning Prayer Team!
If you want to read the Bible most accurately, it needs to be read in its original language, Greek. Because the next phrase of the Lord’s Prayer has a word that we have eliminated. In Greek, the prayer reads “Ton arton imon ton epiousion dos imin simeron.” Ton Arton (the bread) imon (ours) ton epiousion (the needed) dos (give) imin (to us) simeron (today). So, literally this translated “our needed bread, give to us today.” The prayer calls on us to focus on the needs of today.
Where does this phrase come from? It actually comes from the Old Testament book of Exodus, Chapter 16: 1-30.
Paraphrasing, the people of Israel were wandering in the wilderness about 45 days after they had departed from Egypt. And they were complaining against Moses and Aaron because they had no food to eat. They complained that at least as slaves they had food in Egypt.
Then the Lord said to Moses. “Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” (4-5) And so every morning, “manna” fell from heaven and covered the ground and people gathered it and ate it. Some people saved part of it but “it bred worms and became foul.” (20)
The lesson of the manna was that the amount that was needed was provided every day. Not less-no one went hungry. And not more-it could not be saved. Each day the people would have to get up and trust that it would be there, and gather it for the day. On Friday of each week, twice as much would fall, and a portion of that would be saved to the Sabbath so that people didn’t have to work on the Sabbath but could rest. There had to be daily trust and daily work, but there was also daily provision from God.
The “daily bread” is a reminder that God provides what we need, as we need it. We can’t and shouldn’t be storing up his blessings, or hoarding what we have. We should take what is sufficient and then give away the rest. Now, what is sufficient is a matter of each person’s conscience. But God will judge each of us on our sense of sufficiency, if we’ve used what we’ve been given for our sufficiency and whether we’ve used the excess for our own excesses or for charity.
Waiting for the daily bread is the ultimate testament of faith, because it means trusting in God to provide our means each day, without looking too far ahead. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus tells us “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s trouble be sufficient for the day.” This phrase focuses us specifically on asking the Lord to give us what is NEEDED for today, to give it to us today. More to follow on this tomorrow. . .
Heavenly Father, thank You for helping me to get through each day. Help me not to worry too much about the future and focus on being present in today’s opportunities and challenges. Be with me in every conversation I have today. Give me wisdom in every decision. Give me strength when I start to get tired. Help me to focus. And give me moments of joy as well. Lord, I dedicate this day to You. It is a day that You have made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Amen.
Have a great day!
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The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Prayer Team is a daily devotion written by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, the parish priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. Devotions include a verse from scripture, a commentary from Fr. Stavros, and a short prayer that he writes to match the topic.
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