The Lord’s Prayer: It Means So Much More

The Lord’s Prayer is the one thing all Christian churches have in common. It is estimated that more people say The Lord’s Prayer more often than any other Christian prayer. Emmett Fox in his book Sermon on the Mount, says The Lord’s Prayer is

A compact formula for the development of the soul. It is designed with the utmost care for the specific purpose;
so that those who use it regularly, with understanding, will experience a real change of soul.

Click here to listen to this lesson, as delivered at Unity Center Austin.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer, phrase by phrase look at this powerful, world-wide prayer of fewer than 75 words.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offered this prayer as the example of how we should pray. His simple lesson is filled to overflowing with meaning and wisdom and spiritual experience.

Our Father
Starting with Our, Jesus removes any individual possession of the relationship, any sense of separation among God’s children. As God is Our Parent and we are (all) God’s Child, we are one, brothers and sisters knowing and enjoying the unity of One.

Then Jesus makes clear the love and grace, the support and peace, the joy and comfort God is for us. By expressing God as Father, our parent, as our mother/father, Jesus lets us know and share the knowledge that our Creator is not vengeful nor fearful nor punishing. God is our Parent, in that we can be sure and secure.

Two words, nine letters, that make it clear we are the united children of a loving Creator.

Who Art in Heaven
Emmett Fox indicates that this phrase clarifies the differentiation — not separation — between God the Creator and people, God’s creations. God is the cause, the source. We are the result, the manifestation. We are God’s creation that we can express and manifest the power and presence that God is.

Rather than envision Heaven as a separate place, a physical entity, we can know Heaven as the presence of God. Heaven, as God, is absolute, pure, unconditional Being. Fox simply states that we are One with God does not mean we are one-and-the-same as God.

Hallowed Be Thy Name
Name, in this context, means not the label “God” or “Abba” or “Spirit”. Name refers to the essential nature, the character that is named. Hallowed, from its Old English origins, means “whole, wholeness, healthy, holy, holiness.” The essence of God, the Spirit that is the perfect Power and Presence we know as God, is truly perfect health and holiness.

And as we are the child of God, we are God’s essence. As God is, we are.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done on Earth as It Is in Heaven
This clause affirms that God — God’s Presence and God’s Will — are real in our lives, in our physical existence. The beauty here is the affirmation to that it is our duty and opportunity to establish that Kingdom on earth, to move God’s ideas into manifestation here in our “reality.” Emmett Fox states

Our true place is the one place where we can bring
the Kingdom of God into manifestation.

The final phrase — on earth as it is in Heaven — is normally understood to mean our living life in as spiritually a way as possible, that God’s will is done here as it is done in Heaven. Another interpretation might be this: God’s will is done on earth because earth is in Heaven, as Heaven is the Presence of God; Heaven is around us, throughout us, upholding us, fulfilling us.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
Children inherently have faith and understanding that their parents will provide everything they need: food, shelter, clothing, protection, love, security, and more. That is mirrored by Jesus’s affirming that God give us our daily bread.

The bread is much more than just bread. It is everything we need, everything we want, everything we as God’s child expect from our loving, giving Parent. We can turn to God for our complete sustenance: physical, mental, and spiritual.

This day and daily take on special meaning. These similar phrases indicate that our asking, our communicating, our praying and affirming our relationship with God is to occur not once, not once in a while, but every day. Continuously. Repeatedly. And without regard for yesterday’s bread or tomorrow’s bread. We can safely and surely know that today we will have all that we need…and that we only need it for today.

And Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive our Debtors
(And Forgive Us Our Trespasses as We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us)

Emmett Fox refers to this as the “turning point of the Prayer.

The prayer leads to this Truth: that as we forgive others, we are freed to forgive ourselves. By extending forgiveness to anyone whom we believe has injured us in any way, we set ourselves free from experiencing or expressing injury to others. Or to ourselves.

The only thing that is essential is our willingness to forgive. Acknowledging that our brother or sister is of Spirit, has the Christ within, and as such cannot be less than perfect is forgiving.  This is the central clause to The Lord’s Prayer. It is of significance that immediately after sharing the prayer, Jesus states in Matthew 6:14:

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Emmett Fox gives pointers on the simplicity of forgiveness:

The method of forgiving is this: Get by yourself and become quiet. Repeat any prayer or treatment that appeals to you, or read a chapter of the Bible. Then quietly say, “I fully and freely forgive (name)…: I loose him and let him go. I completely forgive the whole business in question. As far as I am concerned, it is finished forever. I cast the burden of resentment upon the Christ within me. (Name) is free now, and I am free too. I wish him well in every phase of his life. That incident is finished. The Christ Trust has set us both free. I thank God.” Then get up and go about your business. On no account repeat this act of forgiveness, because you have done it once and for all, and to do it a second time would be tacitly to repudiate your own work.

Lead Us Not into Temptation but Deliver Us from Evil
This clause can be interpreted in several ways. That we have no control over temptation or our ability to withstand it, that evil befalls us at random (and often?) or that we are prone to perform evil are not uncommon meanings assigned. But there is a much better interpretation…

Positively, this can be viewed as our request to experience and enjoy continually our humility as Child of God. Human mind and our appreciation of its powers have been known to have us think we are in control, we can take care of ourselves, and our abilities, strengths and intelligence are the reasons for our success. This line in The Lord’s Prayer affirms that God helps us not experience such ego. We affirm that God keeps us from missing the mark, keeps us from thinking it is up to us (and not God’s gift) to keep us well and whole.

In short, this segment affirms that God is fully with us and with us all ways.

Thine Is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever and Ever
This is the beautiful conclusion to a prayer that never ends. We here remind ourselves that God is omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. These are not just descriptions of God but the Being God is. God is not all-knowing, God is all knowledge. God is not all-powerful. God is all power. God is not all-present. God is the presence of all.

Our Father
Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever and ever.

Click here to listen to this lesson, as delivered at Unity Center Austin.

Love and Blessings!

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm by Tim · Permalink
In: Christ Spirit, Forgiveness, God, Happiness, Oneness, Prayer · Tagged with: , , , , , ,