THE LORD’S PRAYER EXPLAINED
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© June 2016, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
Also called the Our Father, this familiar prayer from the New Testament of the Bible was given by Jesus as part of the Sermon On The Mount. It is found in Matthew 6:9-13.
It is presumably a prayer that he himself used. Many religious scholars have written about it extensively, and their commentaries upon it are found in many locations on the internet and elsewhere. This short article is a very brief introduction to the concepts contained in this powerful and simple prayer.
The prayer begins with several interesting concepts:
1) “Our” means that the prayer is spoken in the plural tense (rather than saying “My Father”). Exactly why the plural was used is not stated. However, it probably signifies that this prayer is about humanity as a group or family. It may also signify that it should be used or spoken with others, and not just by oneself.
This may relate to another concept in the New Testament that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there will I be among them”. (Matthew 18:18-20). This may mean that God does not require millions to gather in his name in order to be present. It may also be encouraging us to come together and to pray together.
2) The prayer refers to God as the “Father”. This is a masculine principle that is important in organized Christianity and Judaism, but not as important in Hinduism and some other religions.
Praying to the Father energy may mean the prayer is directed to a particular type of spiritual dimension or spiritual world, rather than to the physical or earthy world, which is often signified by a feminine energy in Christianity.
The word Father may relate to another idea described in the article entitled Poles And Climbers on this website. The male principle is the pole, and it is unchanging. The female principle is the climber, and it is more concerned with relationships, for example, and is more changeable. Thus the prayer is to the unchanging God or Source.
3) Use of the word Father gives the prayer a more personal tone, than if the word God were used, for example. Jesus emphasized the concept of developing a personal relationship with the Creator energy, which he called the Father energy. Judaism had become corrupted by a priesthood. Jesus wanted to return to the idea that one does not need an intermediary between a person and the Creator. The Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, in some translations, is all that is needed to communicate with the higher realms.
Who Art In Heaven
This implies that the Creator or Father is not here on earth, although some say that God is everywhere. The words would seem to say that we must pray to another kingdom or another dimension, and not this physical world.
Also, perhaps, we are to bring this non-physical Father dimension into our lives and thus into the physical world or physical dimension. I believe this is a type of call to action to “bring Heaven to earth”.
The Roy Masters meditation exercise with my modification can help with this effort. The exercise is a type of active prayer in which one visualizes bringing energy downward from the head to the feet. In this sense, it is about connecting the spiritual dimension with this physical one, and bringing the spiritual dimension to earth (down to our feet.)
Hallowed be thy name
Speaking the name of God is powerful and mighty. The importance of the name is a concept that is not easy to understand. However, certain words, when spoken correctly and sincerely, carry a certain power and force.
This is related to one of the Ten Commandments of Moses, which is ‘do not take the name of the Lord in vain’. In other words, do not abuse the name of God. Please read The Ten Commandments on this site. The Lord’s Prayer expresses the same idea in a positive sense – to hallow or make holy the name of God because it will bring power and healing.
Thy kingdom come
This powerful affirmation is an insistence that the realm of the spirit be brought to the earth plane. A kingdom is a mighty place with laws, rules, punishments and structure. This statement is an affirmation that one wishes that the divine side of life replace, or at least infiltrate and be added to the earthy or fleshy realm of physical life.
Thy will be done
This is another mighty affirmation. One is asking that the ego or small human mind be disregarded or minimized, while the Mind of God or the Christ Mind be followed. A separate article on this site discusses this powerful thought. Please read Thy Will Be Done on this site.
Give us this day our daily bread
This line does not just refer to having enough to eat. It means that we ask that the divine supply all of our physical needs, and perhaps even our psychological, emotional and mental needs, including less tangible ones such as our health. It is a powerful affirmation of the belief that God is the Source of our physical well-being.
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass upon us
Forgiving is so important that this line of the prayer focuses upon it exclusively. Here we ask for forgiveness, as we learn to forgive others. The two are closely related, as many people know. It is hard to forgive others if you are unwilling to be forgiven yourself. It is also difficult to forgive yourself if you are unwilling to forgive the trespasses of others.
Lead us not into temptation
This is an important spiritual principle. By saying it, we realize that all of us are subject to temptations of many kinds, and they are all around us continually, from indiscretions regarding our food and diet, to temptations to lie, steal and cheat in various ways.
We acknowledge the reality of temptation, and we ask not to be lured into its pit or grip.
But deliver us from all evil
Here one acknowledges the reality of evil in our world, and we ask for deliverance from it. Evil includes temptation, in my view, but is broader and includes things such as accidents, illnesses, those who wish to do us harm, wars and fights, effects of causes of which we are unaware, and perhaps more.
For Thine is the power, the glory and the majesty forever.
Here we acknowledge that the real power in our lives, the real glory and majestic part of our lives, is that which is of the kingdom of God.
The word forever lends an unchanging and final or ultimate quality to the entire prayer.
While not part of the prayer, I include this word in case some readers are not familiar with its meaning. It is of Hebrew origin or Aramaic origin. It is there to add emphasis to any prayer.
Meaning. The word amen means verily, truly, with faith, so be it, it is done, or indeed. At the end of the prayer, I like to say the word amen.
Then I like saying the words indeed, so be it, and it is done. I think this adds another level of approval of or agreement to any prayer that you recite.
Just for purposes of understanding the prayer better, the translation below is supposedly directly from the Aramaic, the language of Jesus, rather than through the Greek version or others of the Bible. Regardless of what you think of it, it is interesting to ponder. Here it is:
Father-Mother of the Creation, shimmering light of all,
Focus Your Light within us as we breathe Your Holy Breath.
Enter the sanctuary of our hearts, uniting within us the sacred rays of Your Power and Beauty
Let Your Heart’s Desire unite heaven and earth through our sacred union.
Help us fulfill what lies within the circle of our lives today.
Forgive our secret fears, as we freely choose to forgive the secret fears of others.
Let us not enter forgetfulness, tempted by false appearances.
For from Your Astonishing Fire comes the Eternal Song, which sanctifies all, renewed eternally in our lives, and throughout all Creation.
We seal these words in our hearts, committed in trust and faith.