Tag Archives: daily bread

Prayerful Eating

I have written in the past about Slow Lent and how this season of spiritual discipline can be a time to deliberately slow down. The slowing down can be an intentional way to make space and time to listen for God. My Lenten discipline for this year has a specific deceleration: prayerful eating.

I am not sure how or why but I grew up eating my meals in a hurry, but  I have continued that practice today. I seem to inhale my food without giving it much thought or reflection. I don’t even really taste and enjoy the meal. I noticed my rush at a recent dinner with friends from Resurrection; I cleaned my plate ten minutes before anyone else. And I was engaged in the table conversation!

fruit-basket-still-620When I was at the Pacem in Terris hermitage earlier this winter, I decided to take my time eating the simple meals of fruit, cheese and bread.  To give thanks for my daily bread. To be mindful of the taste, texture and smell of the meal.  To enjoy each mouthful as a gift from God, the farmers, bakers, and handlers of the food.  I reflected on verse 4 of Psalm 103, “who satisfies you with good as long as you live.” Each meal became a holy moment in my retreat.

I have continued that practice after I left. So I was surprised and pleased when our national church office of the ELCA recommend a similar approach as a Lenten discipline. It is called prayerful eating and it is adapted from Mindful Eating by Jan Chozen Bays, M.D. The first four steps are:

1. Prayerfully express your gratitude throughout the meal.

2. Pause before beginning the meal. Look at each item of food, taking it in with your eyes. Notice the color, texture, and shape of the food.

3. Take a moment to say grace. Thank God, animals, plants and people who provided these gifts of food.

There are further steps and explanation which you can access at this link.

rice and beansI am planning simple meals this Lent. My daughter Christina taught me the delicious value of rice and beans this past summer. (My other daughter , Suzanne, taught me the delicious value of a cheesecake, but I plan to enjoy that after Easter.)

The whole purpose of the prayerful eating discipline is to become aware of God’s presence in the midst of my daily life.

How do you build such awareness into your life?

Lord Jesus, thank you for my daily bread.

Snow Days and Daily Bread

sleddingsnowblastwebYesterday was a snow day for many school districts in the Twin Cities area. The foot of snow was a fun excuse for many families to be outdoors, sledding on hills and building snow forts. Afterwards they could warm up with hot cocoa or bake fresh cookies.

But the school districts in Saint Paul and Minneapolis did not have snow day. Instead the buses took their time delivering these urban children to their school. I don’t know all the reasons they stayed open, but one of them was probably hunger. For many children in poverty, school is the one place where they are assured of getting a nutritious meal. According to Bread for the World, 16.2 million children struggle with hunger every day. You can learn more about hunger through the new documentary, “A Place at the Table.”

BreadAs a Christian I pray the Lord’s prayer daily. In it I pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” I am not simply praying, “Give me today my daily bread,” but for OUR daily bread. I am praying for my brothers and sister in Christ who need food today. After all the book of James cautions,

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? (James 2:14-17)

I am thankful for the efforts my congregation (and many congregations) who work to fed others. Efforts like the Cure Ministry that serves meals at East Emmanuel Lutheran in St. Paul and the Christian Cupboard that provides food to many families in the Woodbury area. But I sense that more can be done. What do you think?

Lord Jesus, give us today our daily bread, especially for the hungry children in our midst.

Daily Multigrain

Daily Bread

Okay, yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  Yesterday many of us went to church, confessed our sins, received the promise of forgiveness and went home.  Now what?  How are you going to allow God to work in your life today?

It does not have to be some big spiritual feat or sacrifice.   A simple prayer asking God to start your day with grace and gratitude.  For example, take one petition from the Lord’s Prayer, such as “Give us today our daily bread.”   Reflect on that as you eat your breakfast, drink your morning cup of tea, as you start your car or turn on your computer. All that we have, all that we use each day is a gift from our Creator. 

Martin Luther answered the question, “What does ‘daily bread’ mean?”  in the Small Catechism. 

Everything included in the necessity and nourishment for our bodies, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, fields, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors and the like.

Slow down and see the amazing grace all around us.  Our daily bread is truly multi-grain and nourishing.

 Where was God for you in the second day of Lent?