Give us today
Our bread for tomorrow.
There’s a black and white cat who lives with me. Max. He’s not a young cat. Most of his life he lived near Banks (Oregon), 150 miles west of here. This cat is clearly neurotic regarding food. But I reckon he came by it honestly.
His owner (my part-time housemate) tells me that (in his former place of residence) Max was always trying to get someone to feed him. And I think this is what made him crazy. There were several people living in (his) house, but nobody had the ‘job’ of feeding the cat. There WAS food there, but it would get dispensed ONLY when Max could get someone to feed him. This was very stressful for Max. He has lived here for a couple years now … and he STILL will come find me (maybe when I’m cooking my own dinner) – and he’ll want me to come “feed him”. And this is in SPITE of the fact that he’s (now) NEVER without food. There’s ALWAYS a dish of food on the dryer (which is in the bathroom. We have a small apartment.) But he wants me to BE THERE (so he can feel like someone is feeding him.) He wants love, I reckon. And who can blame him for that? We’re all the same, it seems to me. I used to tease him a bit (for being so crazy), but I’ve stopped doing that. He is my teacher after all.
Max eats about ½ cup of (dry) cat food a day (or maybe just a little more than that). Every morning, as part of my routine, I see to it that he has “enough” food. And, in HIS case, I figure that’s about TWO day’s worth of food … about one Cup. Most evenings he wants to go outside (which of course, I let him do. I tell him to watch out for the owls. But he has his own adventures. Sometimes, he may be gone even for a couple days. Anyway, his eating habits vary somewhat.) So every now and then, he’ll actually finish off what’s in his dish. But when that happens, I always feel a bit sad, and like I’ve let him down. Not that he’s actually going hungry … but because he’ll WORRY. (And I want him to be happy.)
If the Urantia Book is correct, Jesus was reluctant to share with his apostles ANY set prayer … because he understood that prayer should be authentic and from the heart. But after considerable pestering, he finally gave in and taught them the prayer he had taught his (younger) brothers and sisters (from when he was obliged to care for them after the death of Joseph. Jesus was 12 at the time, and the oldest child of a large family.)
Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come; your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our bread for tomorrow;
Refresh our souls with the water of life.
And forgive us every one our debts
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
Save us in temptation, deliver us from evil,
And increasingly make us perfect like yourself.
– p. 1620
We know this, of course, as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’. [I’ll include it ‘in context’ at the end of this essay.]
Whenever I write and post a blog, I try to make the title short. But really, this essay is more about Love (to help counteract the anxieties of life) than it is about anxiety itself. Having a Human Life … it’s a tough gig.
Personally, I’m rather sorry – that the wording was lost from the line (in The Lord’s Prayer). ‘Give us today our daily bread’ … is not quite as good as – ‘Give us today our bread for tomorrow’. Because – if we cannot see HOW tomorrow’s sustenance is to be obtained … then we’re going to WORRY about it.
ANY loving father (human or otherwise) will not only PROVIDE for his children … but will also see to their happiness. Anxiety and worry should be minimized. Mmm?
And I cannot help but mention – that the man who is (currently) the President of the United States … does NOT partake of this parental love. (The leader of ANY group has a parental role and a [natural] responsibility to care for those he leads. And it may well be that he just does not know HOW. But in any case, he does not DO it.)
(Why good leaders make you feel safe – Simon Sinek [12 min.])
(Goodness [1 minute])
[from the Urantia Book: Paper 144. Sections 2 – 5.
You may like to see the 7 prayers that are in sec. 5; some of which originate from other planets.] :
2. The Discourse on Prayer
144:2.1 (1618.5) “John indeed taught you a simple form of prayer: ‘O Father, cleanse us from sin, show us your glory, reveal your love, and let your spirit sanctify our hearts forevermore, Amen!’ He taught this prayer that you might have something to teach the multitude. He did not intend that you should use such a set and formal petition as the expression of your own souls in prayer.
144:2.2 (1618.6) “Prayer is entirely a personal and spontaneous expression of the attitude of the soul toward the spirit; prayer should be the communion of sonship and the expression of fellowship. Prayer, when indited by the spirit, leads to co-operative spiritual progress. The ideal prayer is a form of spiritual communion which leads to intelligent worship. True praying is the sincere attitude of reaching heavenward for the attainment of your ideals.
144:2.3 (1619.1) “Prayer is the breath of the soul and should lead you to be persistent in your attempt to ascertain the Father’s will. If any one of you has a neighbor, and you go to him at midnight and say: ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine on a journey has come to see me, and I have nothing to set before him’; and if your neighbor answers, ‘Trouble me not, for the door is now shut and the children and I are in bed; therefore I cannot rise and give you bread,’ you will persist, explaining that your friend hungers, and that you have no food to offer him. I say to you, though your neighbor will not rise and give you bread because he is your friend, yet because of your importunity he will get up and give you as many loaves as you need. If, then, persistence will win favors even from mortal man, how much more will your persistence in the spirit win the bread of life for you from the willing hands of the Father in heaven. Again I say to you: Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door of salvation will be opened.
144:2.4 (1619.2) “Which of you who is a father, if his son asks unwisely, would hesitate to give in accordance with parental wisdom rather than in the terms of the son’s faulty petition? If the child needs a loaf, will you give him a stone just because he unwisely asks for it? If your son needs a fish, will you give him a watersnake just because it may chance to come up in the net with the fish and the child foolishly asks for the serpent? If you, then, being mortal and finite, know how to answer prayer and give good and appropriate gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the spirit and many additional blessings to those who ask him? Men ought always to pray and not become discouraged.
144:2.5 (1619.3) “Let me tell you the story of a certain judge who lived in a wicked city. This judge feared not God nor had respect for man. Now there was a needy widow in that city who came repeatedly to this unjust judge, saying, ‘Protect me from my adversary.’ For some time he would not give ear to her, but presently he said to himself: ‘Though I fear not God nor have regard for man, yet because this widow ceases not to trouble me, I will vindicate her lest she wear me out by her continual coming.’ These stories I tell you to encourage you to persist in praying and not to intimate that your petitions will change the just and righteous Father above. Your persistence, however, is not to win favor with God but to change your earth attitude and to enlarge your soul’s capacity for spirit receptivity.
144:2.6 (1619.4) “But when you pray, you exercise so little faith. Genuine faith will remove mountains of material difficulty which may chance to lie in the path of soul expansion and spiritual progress.”
3. The Believer’s Prayer
144:3.1 (1619.5) But the apostles were not yet satisfied; they desired Jesus to give them a model prayer which they could teach the new disciples. After listening to this discourse on prayer, James Zebedee said: “Very good, Master, but we do not desire a form of prayer for ourselves so much as for the newer believers who so frequently beseech us, ‘Teach us how acceptably to pray to the Father in heaven.’”
144:3.2 (1619.6) When James had finished speaking, Jesus said: “If, then, you still desire such a prayer, I would present the one which I taught my brothers and sisters in Nazareth”:
144:3.3 (1620.1) Our Father who is in heaven,
144:3.4 (1620.2) Hallowed be your name.
144:3.5 (1620.3) Your kingdom come; your will be done
144:3.6 (1620.4) On earth as it is in heaven.
144:3.7 (1620.5) Give us this day our bread for tomorrow;
144:3.8 (1620.6) Refresh our souls with the water of life.
144:3.9 (1620.7) And forgive us every one our debts
144:3.10 (1620.8) As we also have forgiven our debtors.
144:3.11 (1620.9) Save us in temptation, deliver us from evil,
144:3.12 (1620.10) And increasingly make us perfect like yourself.
144:3.13 (1620.11) It is not strange that the apostles desired Jesus to teach them a model prayer for believers. John the Baptist had taught his followers several prayers; all great teachers had formulated prayers for their pupils. The religious teachers of the Jews had some twenty-five or thirty set prayers which they recited in the synagogues and even on the street corners. Jesus was particularly averse to praying in public. Up to this time the twelve had heard him pray only a few times. They observed him spending entire nights at prayer or worship, and they were very curious to know the manner or form of his petitions. They were really hard pressed to know what to answer the multitudes when they asked to be taught how to pray as John had taught his disciples.
144:3.14 (1620.12) Jesus taught the twelve always to pray in secret; to go off by themselves amidst the quiet surroundings of nature or to go in their rooms and shut the doors when they engaged in prayer.
144:3.15 (1620.13) After Jesus’ death and ascension to the Father it became the practice of many believers to finish this so-called Lord’s prayer by the addition of—“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Still later on, two lines were lost in copying, and there was added to this prayer an extra clause, reading: “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forevermore.”
144:3.16 (1620.14) Jesus gave the apostles the prayer in collective form as they had prayed it in the Nazareth home. He never taught a formal personal prayer, only group, family, or social petitions. And he never volunteered to do that.
144:3.17 (1620.15) Jesus taught that effective prayer must be:
144:3.18 (1620.16) 1. Unselfish—not alone for oneself.
144:3.19 (1620.17) 2. Believing—according to faith.
144:3.20 (1620.18) 3. Sincere—honest of heart.
144:3.21 (1620.19) 4. Intelligent—according to light.
144:3.22 (1620.20) 5. Trustful—in submission to the Father’s all-wise will.
144:3.23 (1620.21) When Jesus spent whole nights on the mountain in prayer, it was mainly for his disciples, particularly for the twelve. The Master prayed very little for himself, although he engaged in much worship of the nature of understanding communion with his Paradise Father.
4. More About Prayer
144:4.1 (1620.22) For days after the discourse on prayer the apostles continued to ask the Master questions regarding this all-important and worshipful practice. Jesus’ instruction to the apostles during these days, regarding prayer and worship, may be summarized and restated in modern phraseology as follows:
144:4.2 (1621.1) The earnest and longing repetition of any petition, when such a prayer is the sincere expression of a child of God and is uttered in faith, no matter how ill-advised or impossible of direct answer, never fails to expand the soul’s capacity for spiritual receptivity.
144:4.3 (1621.2) In all praying, remember that sonship is a gift. No child has aught to do with earning the status of son or daughter. The earth child comes into being by the will of its parents. Even so, the child of God comes into grace and the new life of the spirit by the will of the Father in heaven. Therefore must the kingdom of heaven—divine sonship—be received as by a little child. You earn righteousness—progressive character development—but you receive sonship by grace and through faith.
144:4.4 (1621.3) Prayer led Jesus up to the supercommunion of his soul with the Supreme Rulers of the universe of universes. Prayer will lead the mortals of earth up to the communion of true worship. The soul’s spiritual capacity for receptivity determines the quantity of heavenly blessings which can be personally appropriated and consciously realized as an answer to prayer.
144:4.5 (1621.4) Prayer and its associated worship is a technique of detachment from the daily routine of life, from the monotonous grind of material existence. It is an avenue of approach to spiritualized self-realization and individuality of intellectual and religious attainment.
144:4.6 (1621.5) Prayer is an antidote for harmful introspection. At least, prayer as the Master taught it is such a beneficent ministry to the soul. Jesus consistently employed the beneficial influence of praying for one’s fellows. The Master usually prayed in the plural, not in the singular. Only in the great crises of his earth life did Jesus ever pray for himself.
144:4.7 (1621.6) Prayer is the breath of the spirit life in the midst of the material civilization of the races of mankind. Worship is salvation for the pleasure-seeking generations of mortals.
144:4.8 (1621.7) As prayer may be likened to recharging the spiritual batteries of the soul, so worship may be compared to the act of tuning in the soul to catch the universe broadcasts of the infinite spirit of the Universal Father.
144:4.9 (1621.8) Prayer is the sincere and longing look of the child to its spirit Father; it is a psychologic process of exchanging the human will for the divine will. Prayer is a part of the divine plan for making over that which is into that which ought to be.
144:4.10 (1621.9) One of the reasons why Peter, James, and John, who so often accompanied Jesus on his long night vigils, never heard Jesus pray, was because their Master so rarely uttered his prayers as spoken words. Practically all of Jesus’ praying was done in the spirit and in the heart—silently.
144:4.11 (1621.10) Of all the apostles, Peter and James came the nearest to comprehending the Master’s teaching about prayer and worship.
5. Other Forms of Prayer
144:5.1 (1621.11) From time to time, during the remainder of Jesus’ sojourn on earth, he brought to the notice of the apostles several additional forms of prayer, but he did this only in illustration of other matters, and he enjoined that these “parable prayers” should not be taught to the multitudes. Many of them were from other inhabited planets, but this fact Jesus did not reveal to the twelve. Among these prayers were the following:
144:5.2 (1622.1) Our Father in whom consist the universe realms,
144:5.3 (1622.2) Uplifted be your name and all-glorious your character.
144:5.4 (1622.3) Your presence encompasses us, and your glory is manifested
144:5.5 (1622.4) Imperfectly through us as it is in perfection shown on high.
144:5.6 (1622.5) Give us this day the vivifying forces of light,
144:5.7 (1622.6) And let us not stray into the evil bypaths of our imagination,
144:5.8 (1622.7) For yours is the glorious indwelling, the everlasting power,
144:5.9 (1622.8) And to us, the eternal gift of the infinite love of your Son.
144:5.10 (1622.9) Even so, and everlastingly true.
* * *
144:5.12 (1622.10) Our creative Parent, who is in the center of the universe,
144:5.13 (1622.11) Bestow upon us your nature and give to us your character.
144:5.14 (1622.12) Make us sons and daughters of yours by grace
144:5.15 (1622.13) And glorify your name through our eternal achievement.
144:5.16 (1622.14) Your adjusting and controlling spirit give to live and dwell within us
144:5.17 (1622.15) That we may do your will on this sphere as angels do your bidding in light.
144:5.18 (1622.16) Sustain us this day in our progress along the path of truth.
144:5.19 (1622.17) Deliver us from inertia, evil, and all sinful transgression.
144:5.20 (1622.18) Be patient with us as we show loving-kindness to our fellows.
144:5.21 (1622.19) Shed abroad the spirit of your mercy in our creature hearts.
144:5.22 (1622.20) Lead us by your own hand, step by step, through the uncertain maze of life,
144:5.23 (1622.21) And when our end shall come, receive into your own bosom our faithful spirits.
144:5.24 (1622.22) Even so, not our desires but your will be done.
* * *
144:5.26 (1622.23) Our perfect and righteous heavenly Father,
144:5.27 (1622.24) This day guide and direct our journey.
144:5.28 (1622.25) Sanctify our steps and co-ordinate our thoughts.
144:5.29 (1622.26) Ever lead us in the ways of eternal progress.
144:5.30 (1622.27) Fill us with wisdom to the fullness of power
144:5.31 (1622.28) And vitalize us with your infinite energy.
144:5.32 (1622.29) Inspire us with the divine consciousness of
144:5.33 (1622.30) The presence and guidance of the seraphic hosts.
144:5.34 (1622.31) Guide us ever upward in the pathway of light;
144:5.35 (1622.32) Justify us fully in the day of the great judgment.
144:5.36 (1622.33) Make us like yourself in eternal glory
144:5.37 (1622.34) And receive us into your endless service on high.
* * *
144:5.39 (1622.35) Our Father who is in the mystery,
144:5.40 (1622.36) Reveal to us your holy character.
144:5.41 (1622.37) Give your children on earth this day
144:5.42 (1622.38) To see the way, the light, and the truth.
144:5.43 (1622.39) Show us the pathway of eternal progress
144:5.44 (1622.40) And give us the will to walk therein.
144:5.45 (1622.41) Establish within us your divine kingship
144:5.46 (1622.42) And thereby bestow upon us the full mastery of self.
144:5.47 (1622.43) Let us not stray into paths of darkness and death;
144:5.48 (1622.44) Lead us everlastingly beside the waters of life.
144:5.49 (1622.45) Hear these our prayers for your own sake;
144:5.50 (1622.46) Be pleased to make us more and more like yourself.
144:5.51 (1623.1) At the end, for the sake of the divine Son,
144:5.52 (1623.2) Receive us into the eternal arms.
144:5.53 (1623.3) Even so, not our will but yours be done.
* * *
144:5.55 (1623.4) Glorious Father and Mother, in one parent combined,
144:5.56 (1623.5) Loyal would we be to your divine nature.
144:5.57 (1623.6) Your own self to live again in and through us
144:5.58 (1623.7) By the gift and bestowal of your divine spirit,
144:5.59 (1623.8) Thus reproducing you imperfectly in this sphere
144:5.60 (1623.9) As you are perfectly and majestically shown on high.
144:5.61 (1623.10) Give us day by day your sweet ministry of brotherhood
144:5.62 (1623.11) And lead us moment by moment in the pathway of loving service.
144:5.63 (1623.12) Be you ever and unfailingly patient with us
144:5.64 (1623.13) Even as we show forth your patience to our children.
144:5.65 (1623.14) Give us the divine wisdom that does all things well
144:5.66 (1623.15) And the infinite love that is gracious to every creature.
144:5.67 (1623.16) Bestow upon us your patience and loving-kindness
144:5.68 (1623.17) That our charity may enfold the weak of the realm.
144:5.69 (1623.18) And when our career is finished, make it an honor to your name,
144:5.70 (1623.19) A pleasure to your good spirit, and a satisfaction to our soul helpers.
144:5.71 (1623.20) Not as we wish, our loving Father, but as you desire the eternal good of your mortal children,
144:5.72 (1623.21) Even so may it be.
* * *
144:5.74 (1623.22) Our all-faithful Source and all-powerful Center,
144:5.75 (1623.23) Reverent and holy be the name of your all-gracious Son.
144:5.76 (1623.24) Your bounties and your blessings have descended upon us,
144:5.77 (1623.25) Thus empowering us to perform your will and execute your bidding.
144:5.78 (1623.26) Give us moment by moment the sustenance of the tree of life;
144:5.79 (1623.27) Refresh us day by day with the living waters of the river thereof.
144:5.80 (1623.28) Step by step lead us out of darkness and into the divine light.
144:5.81 (1623.29) Renew our minds by the transformations of the indwelling spirit,
144:5.82 (1623.30) And when the mortal end shall finally come upon us,
144:5.83 (1623.31) Receive us to yourself and send us forth in eternity.
144:5.84 (1623.32) Crown us with celestial diadems of fruitful service,
144:5.85 (1623.33) And we shall glorify the Father, the Son, and the Holy Influence.
144:5.86 (1623.34) Even so, throughout a universe without end.
* * *
144:5.88 (1623.35) Our Father who dwells in the secret places of the universe,
144:5.89 (1623.36) Honored be your name, reverenced your mercy, and respected your judgment.
144:5.90 (1623.37) Let the sun of righteousness shine upon us at noontime,
144:5.91 (1623.38) While we beseech you to guide our wayward steps in the twilight.
144:5.92 (1623.39) Lead us by the hand in the ways of your own choosing
144:5.93 (1623.40) And forsake us not when the path is hard and the hours are dark.
144:5.94 (1623.41) Forget us not as we so often neglect and forget you.
144:5.95 (1623.42) But be you merciful and love us as we desire to love you.
144:5.96 (1623.43) Look down upon us in kindness and forgive us in mercy
144:5.97 (1623.44) As we in justice forgive those who distress and injure us.
144:5.98 (1624.1) May the love, devotion, and bestowal of the majestic Son
144:5.99 (1624.2) Make available life everlasting with your endless mercy and love.
144:5.100 (1624.3) May the God of universes bestow upon us the full measure of his spirit;
144:5.101 (1624.4) Give us grace to yield to the leading of this spirit.
144:5.102 (1624.5) By the loving ministry of devoted seraphic hosts
144:5.103 (1624.6) May the Son guide and lead us to the end of the age.
144:5.104 (1624.7) Make us ever and increasingly like yourself
144:5.105 (1624.8) And at our end receive us into the eternal Paradise embrace.
144:5.106 (1624.9) Even so, in the name of the bestowal Son
144:5.107 (1624.10) And for the honor and glory of the Supreme Father.
144:5.108 (1624.11) Though the apostles were not at liberty to present these prayer lessons in their public teachings, they profited much from all of these revelations in their personal religious experiences. Jesus utilized these and other prayer models as illustrations in connection with the intimate instruction of the twelve, and specific permission has been granted for transcribing these seven specimen prayers into this record.