- The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. – Psalm 103:8
It is Perfect
I adore the Lord’s Prayer.
If I were marooned on a desert island and could have only one piece of scripture, it would be the Lord’s prayer.
It contains everything a Christian needs for a healthy relationship with God, and for a deeply profound faith.
It is the most important thing Jesus taught us.
Is this hyperbole? Not at all. See for yourself:
5. “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
God does not want our relationship with the divine to be flaunted or faked. It is only a deeply personal identity, never one for public acknowledgement. Those who display their fluffed-up piety in the public square do so only for their own glory, not for God’s.
Your relationship with God is yours and your alone.
6. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Pray alone, away from the world, in secret. Prayer is a time of communion with God. It is secret and personal, and deeply spiritual. Just you and the source of all things, together, one, whole. This can only be done in solace.
Yes, God can also be experienced in action in the world, in community, but this particular deeply-personal experience of the divine is only possible one-on-one.
7. “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Be quiet. Just be with God. God is in the silence, remember? Since time immemorial, God has taught us to look for God in the silence between, that deep connecting emptiness between all things.
1 Kings 19
11. The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
8. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
God knows what you need before you ask it. Amazing.
You are never alone, God is omnipresent, and your relationship with God is constant. You only need to go off by yourself, be quiet, and you will find God never left!
9. “Pray then in this way: Our Father/Mother in heaven, hallowed be your name.
God should always be referenced with the utmost awe and respect, as due from a creature to its creator.
This is not to lower us, not at all! This is to acknowledge the miracle that is God’s creation and role as creator.
10. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Some translations put a period (.) after”kingdom come” to create two separate thoughts. This is a false translation. The true meaning is found when read as an entire thought:
Thy Kingdom come on Earth.
Thy will be done on Earth.
…As it is in Heaven.
This just might be the single most important verse for the successful reformation of modern Christianity because the Kingdom is not merely salvation after death, a place far off, later, after… The Kingdom is here and now. It is an Earthly reality to be experience when we can begin to live out the will of God across all populations and borders.
But what is the will of God? Trust in God, show mercy and compassion, and do not fear any longer.
11. Give us this day our daily bread.
Trust in God. God will provide: guidance, food, shelter, love… you only need to trust.
25. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28. “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31. So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32. For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
12. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
We must show the same measure of mercy and compassion to others as we have received ourselves, and hope to receive!
23. “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
24. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him;
25. and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made.
26. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’
27. And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt.
28. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’
29. Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’
30. But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt.
31. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.
32. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
33. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’
34. And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt.
35. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
13. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
Do not fear any longer. God has won a perfect and final victory over death, fear, and evil. These things may not know it yet, but it is done. And every year, the more people who are awakened to this truth the less control death, fear and evil has in this world of ours.
14. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
15. but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
12. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
This small set of verses lays the foundation for a simple, radical and perfect faith.
However, I am not implying that accomplishing the challenges laid out in these verses is easy! For this is the hardest list of spiritual challenges known to man.
It is in the doing, the attempts and failures to accomplish the words of this perfect prayer that we discover mankind’s inherent agency, our innate power to love and change the world for the better, to manifest the Kingdom now, on Earth as it is in Heaven.
In the doing of it, we also discover our shortcomings, and realize our need for God’s Grace: God’s unmerited favor for us all. As well as our need to trust and depend on God for healing.