Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Lord's Prayer Revisited

The ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is widely recognized as the familiar prayer Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him “how should we pray?”. It remains the standard prayer recited privately and publically by many Christians everywhere. Recited ritually it can become so repetitive that we forget to  take the time to absorb its hidden meanings. A few simple questions about this prayer might help us to unlock its salvific intent.      

Our Father in heaven” . . . do you think of ‘heaven’ as a separate and distant place from this earth?  Does this prayer not suggest to us that like any loving parent God not only cares for his children but wants them to become responsible adults?

Hallowed be your name” . . . does this remind you that as a son/daughter of God that you yourself are also hallowed? Is holiness (wholeness) limited only to the righteous, or are we all holy individuals capable of unholy acts?

Your kingdom come” . . . does this make you think of the 'kingdom' as something to take place in the present or the  future? Does the next line by Jesus not clearly place it here on earth as well as in heaven?   

 Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” . . . How often do we follow God’s will or instructions to live as ‘kingdom people’ here on earth? Is it possible that by listening to the God within that we can discover that God’s will and our will are perhaps similar?

Give us this day our daily bread”, . . . do we trust God enough to provide our daily spiritual and physical needs?  Why would God not give us this?  What role (God’s will) do we have to help our neighbours in this regard?

Forgive us our debts,”.. . . do we really trust God to forgive us for the many errors or mistakes we have made in our life?  If not, are we condemned to carry our pain until death?  What do you make of the following Scriptural passages: Hebrews 8:12 ,Jeremiah 31:34 Isaiah 43:25 , where God reminds us “and I will not remember your sins." ?

as we also have forgiven our debtors” . . .  Are we able to forgive those who have hurt us and do we realize that God recognizes the burden of holding on to our pain and wants to teach us to let go so that we may be free to live life to the full?


And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” . . . . now comes the great assurance or comfort that we are not dealing with an entity that will lead us into temptation but rather one who wants to protect us and despite our faults will not punish us but instead is prepared to deliver us from the evil that our ego’s have allowed to come our way. 

The Lord’s Prayer is God’s promise to listen and respond to us while  being fully present in every situation of our daily life – no matter how insignificant or painfully difficult.  The extent to which God is present appears to be entirely up to us. God does not assign any pre-conditions upon our cry for his help or assistance.  This Deity meets us where we are not were others would have us be. Note that this prayer reveals a Creator who completely identifies with us in all our fears, pains and struggles or sins no matter how painful these may be. The same God is equaly present in our hopes, joys and dreams. 

Finally, the Lord's prayer offers a direct line to God’s unconditional love where we will re-discover that we are imbued with the power, but not escape, the  ability to resist evil and do good, to heal and be healed, to forgive and be forgiven, to overcome fear, rejection and temptation, etc.  Did Jesus not also remind  us “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”? (John 14:12)

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