by J. Gerald Harris

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A Prayer for Bread (3 of 5)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
Matthew 6:9-13

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately one-third of the world is well fed, one- third is underfed, and one-third is starving. Every day 35,000 children die because of malnutrition, and 70 percent of children under six years of age are under-nourished.

There is not enough bread to feed the starving multitudes of the world. Yet most of us have bread and to spare, but we take it for granted. It has never occurred to us that we might go hungry, that our cupboards might be empty. We have presumed upon the goodness of God. We expect Him to give us our daily bread. In a recent US News and World Report magazine, a survey indicated that the number one concern of Americans was violence, number two - drugs, number three - inflation, and number four - famine elsewhere.

I am reminded of the story lifted out of the life of good King Alfonso XII of Spain. One day it came to the ears of this king that the pages in his court forgot to ask God's blessing on their daily meals, and he determined to rebuke them. He invited them to a banquet which they all attended. The table was spread with every kind of good thing, and the boys ate with hearty appetites. But none of them remembered to ask God's blessings upon the food.

During the feast, a beggar entered, dirty and ragged. He seated himself at the royal table and ate and drank to his heart's content. At first the pages were amazed and they expected that the king would order him away. But King Alfonso never said a word. When the beggar had finished, he rose and left without a word of thanks. Then the boys could keep silence no longer. "What a despicable, mean, ungrateful fellow!" they cried.

But the king silenced them. And in clear, calm tones, he said, "Boys, you have been bolder and more brazen than this beggar. Every day you sit down to a table supplied by the bounty of your heavenly Father, yet you never ask for His blessing nor exp ...

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