When the Savior showed his disciples how to pray, he included the plea, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). With this supplication, Jesus Christ taught us of our daily dependence on our Heavenly Father for sustenance—for all the good things of the earth which are “made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
“Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul” (D&C 59:18–19).
Like physical nourishment, spiritual food is a gift that comes from God. The Lord explained: “My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. …
“… I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:32, 35).
As we commit to follow the Savior, we need to recognize that both our bodies and our spirits are nourished, strengthened, and sustained by our Heavenly Father’s bounty—and that both require our daily attention and care.
Gwen, a young woman diagnosed with a serious illness, learned a great deal about diet and nutrition as she diligently followed her doctor’s instructions during a year of difficult medical treatment. She studied what she ate with a care that had never been a part of her life until that time. She courageously joked with friends that she had never thought she would become so interested in the science of food.
But as Gwen struggled with her illness, she discovered that the habits of scripture study, regular temple attendance, and daily prayer sustained her as much as anything that nourished her body. She found the hymns of the Church particularly comforting and sang them to herself as she drove to her weekly medical treatments.
Although scripture study and prayer had been a part of Gwen’s life before her illness, she appreciated this daily spiritual nourishment in a new way. “I need my morning prayer even more than I need my green, leafy vegetables,” she said. By seeking spiritual nourishment every day, Gwen was able to feel the Savior’s sustaining presence in her life.
Just as properly nourishing and caring for our bodies contributes to physical well-being, caring for our spirits increases our spiritual capacities, sustains us in trials, and makes us more able to follow the Savior and accomplish our life’s work. The account of Alma’s joyous reunion with the sons of Mosiah illustrates the strength that comes as the spirit is nourished: “They had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
“But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God” (Alma 17:2–3).
We, like the sons of Mosiah, will find the spiritual strength to bear our burdens and follow in the Savior’s footsteps as we accept his invitation: “Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely” (Alma 5:34).
How can you strengthen your body and spirit each day?
What blessings have you experienced during times of spiritual nourishment?