This is a completely restorative prayer, self-contained, concise and more than any other biblical statement I believe very clearly describes Jesus’ teaching. In the next several posts I will attempt to describe the meaning it has for me in detail, sentence by sentence. Most of what I am posting comes from my own personal meditation on the prayer and in that meditation, listening to the ideas presented to me.
This first post contains general comments not he prayer.
My first reading of an interpretation of this prayer was in Emmet Fox’s book, the “Sermon on the Mount,” published by HarperSanFrancisco. The first edition was published in 1938. Fox’s book is regarded as one of the major spiritual books of the 20th century. It has by far influenced my early thinking and spiritual direction more than any book I know, other than A Course in Miracles.
The prayer Jesus gave his disciples in response to their question, “Lord teach us to pray.”, is found in Luke 11:1-4. It is about the nature of God in relation to His children, and His children’s relation to one another, being one of love and unity. It is a restorative prayer, describing our place in God’s Kingdom and our return to it through forgiveness. The power of forgiveness in the context of the nature of our relationship with God and our brothers and sisters, in the context of our inheritance, as God created us. In the prayer Jesus concisely lays out God’s plan for our salvation, His will, which is contrary to our beliefs in this world. Although nothing exists contrary to God. Therefor, God’s is a restorative plan, including the return of our love for one another — our natural state of mind, which always was and always will be. However, in Truth we never left our home in heaven, making our world an illusion in which we tell ourselves we did.
Jesus knew by the time he was asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray, exactly where in Truth his life was headed. That he would face in a short while what would forever be an extreme demonstration of God’s supreme love in a world alien to it, the last useless journey in the name of every human being, transforming all of us in the direction of heaven and “dwelling in the house of Lord forever.” (Psalm 23). Jesus gave us his prayer in the midst of his own suffering: hatred, persecution, and violent projection of some of the worst guilt humanity could offer itself. He nd came face to face with a terrified humankind which is in a state of fear, in a war against it’s Source. What we do here, in the shadow of death, within the error of separation and the terrible thought, in our dream, we just might have made separation an impossibility, real. In the crusifixion Jesus was challenged by the gentle hand of Truth. And In the restoration to our sanity, our redemption and resurrection, we come to know through Jesus’ reality, how it it is to overcome everything evil has to offer, that there is only what there always is and forever will be: the endless and changeless love of God for his Son, All of His Children.
The Lord’s Prayer asks only one thing from us: to let go of illusion: to forgive, as we come to see a forgiven world, and to recognize we have been “given” all by All. What we already have is our very being. We lack nothing, you and I and everyone. It doesn’t matter how it appears to us. God, our Father, gave everyone exactly what the same Parent gave me, because there is no separation from Him, nor among His creations. Jesus’ wonderful prayer is a sequel to Genesis. Adam thought he somehow fell away from Truth, but Jesus tells us he did not. A tiny mad idea has grown into a monstrosity of thought, all based on a false foundation: the guilt devouring ego, which pursues us beyond the grave it so cherishes here in the shadow of death. In our forgiveness, born in God’s love, when we say “forgive us our trespasses…,” Jesus means a mighty joining of human hands, looking within with all the power of the universe at our side, and recognizing for one another, in God’s Oneness, “…Thine (each of us) is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever. Amen.”
Jesus’ prayer is the most practical act we can imagine in a world of sadness imagined in a chaotic thought system. When I say this prayer with others, holding my hand out to the person next to me, I look around the circle, proclaiming just this: “You, my brother/sister are the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever.” How could I then not forgive? It is just as God sees His Son in the Sonship, (sons and daughters) forever innocent, sinless and guiltless. A changeless relationship formed by the Changelessness of His creation.
Forgiveness must have this context and content to realize its power. It is in the practice of Truth, which is the only power there is in this world, that we come to know forgiveness. It is a reflection of God’s Love among His children who do not know that is all there is and can ever be. It will however, prevail. It does not matter what “someone has “done” to us, “out there” because there is no “I” standing alone, with someone out there. In fact, there is no “out there” and there is no alone. God does not condemn and He does not need to forgive. We must. It is as our only function here. It is the very meaning of, “to love one another as I have loved you.” “Thou shalt not want” means this world can’t give us anything eternal because we already have been given everything forever and lack nothing. Forgiveness allows us to see this. The entire content of this wonderful prayer from our very wonderful brother is about just this. Forgiveness is what we do to recognize it.