There are only few human beings who seek to become aware of what they actually want when they say the “Lord’s Prayer”. Still fewer who really know what is the meaning of the sentences which they rattle off. Rattle off is probably the only accurate designation for the process which in this instance man calls praying.
He who examines himself unsparingly in this respect must admit this, otherwise he proves that he spends his whole life in the same way … superficially, and that he is not, nor ever has been, capable of any deep thought. There are enough of them on this earth who certainly take themselves seriously, but with the best will in the world cannot be taken seriously by others.
Especially the beginning of this Prayer has always been taken in the wrong sense, even though in different ways. Those who try to undertake this Prayer earnestly, thus who set about it with a certain good volition, experience a certain feeling of safety, of psychic calm arising within them after or during these first words! And this feeling prevails with them for several seconds after praying.
This explains two things: First, that the one who prays can maintain his earnestness only for the first words, whereby they release this feeling in him; and second, that just the release of this feeling proves how far removed he is from grasping what he is saying with them!
In this he plainly shows either his inability to maintain any deeper thinking, or else his superficiality; for otherwise with the succeeding words there should again immediately arise a different feeling, corresponding to the changed content of the words, as soon as these really come to life in him.
Thus there persists in him only what the first words awaken. But if he were to grasp the right sense and the true meaning of the words, then these would have to release in him a quite different intuitive sensing from that of being comfortably safe.
More arrogant people again see in the word “Father” the confirmation that they are directly descended from God, and that thereby with the right development they will ultimately themselves become Divine; but that even now they definitely bear something of the Divine within them. And so there are many more errors among men with regard to this sentence.
Most people, however, consider it simply as the form of address in the Prayer, the invocation! This requires them to think least. And accordingly it is also uttered without thought, despite the fact that just in the invocation to God should lie the whole fervor of which a man’s soul can ever become capable.
But this first sentence is not meant either to say or to be any of this; instead the Son of God at the same time put into the choice of words the explanation or indication of the way in which a human soul is to set about prayer, how it may and must step before its God if its prayer is to find a hearing. He says exactly what quality it must possess at that moment, how its condition of pure intuitive perception has to be, if it would lay its petition at the Steps of God’s Throne.
Thus the whole Prayer is divided into three parts. The first part is the complete dedication, the surrendering of the soul to its God. Figuratively speaking, it bares itself before Him ere it comes with a request, testifying first to its own pure volition.
The Son of God wishes to explain thereby what kind of intuitive perception alone may form the basis for an approach to God! Therefore come, like a great, sacred vow, the words at the beginning: “OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN!”
Consider that prayer is not the same as petition! Otherwise there would certainly be no prayer of thanksgiving, which contains no petition. To pray is not to beg. Even in this respect the “Lord’s Prayer” has so far always been misunderstood, because of man’s evil habit of never approaching God without at the same time expecting or even demanding something from Him; for in the expecting lies the demanding. And actually man always expects something when he prays; this he cannot deny! Be it even, broadly speaking, only the vague feeling of one day receiving a place in Heaven.
Jubilant thanksgiving in happy enjoyment of the conscious existence granted to him in the co-operation willed by God, or justly expected by God, in the great Creation, for the welfare of his surroundings, is not known to man! Indeed, he does not even suspect that just this, and only this, holds his own real welfare and his progress, his ascent.
But on such a basis, willed by God, does the “Lord’s Prayer” in truth stand! The Son of God, Who desired only man’s welfare, which lies solely in the right observance and fulfillment of God’s Will, could not possibly have given it in any other way!
The Prayer given by Him is thus anything but a prayer of petition; rather is it a great, all-embracing vow of man, who in it lays himself at the Feet of his God! Jesus gave it to His disciples, who at that time were ready to live in the pure worship of God, to serve God through their life in Creation, and in this serving to honor His Holy Will!
Man should consider well and carefully whether he may dare to make use of and utter this Prayer at all, and should examine himself earnestly as to whether, in using it, he is not perhaps trying to lie to his God!
The introductory sentences admonish plainly enough that each one should examine himself as to whether he really is as he speaks in it! Whether he dares to go with it before God’s Throne without guile!
But if you experience the first three sentences of the Prayer within you, then they will lead you before the Steps of God’s Throne. They are the way to It, if they come to
experiencing in a soul! No other leads thither. But this one for certain! Where these sentences are not experienced, however, none of your petitions can reach there.
It shall be a devout yet joyful outcry when you dare to say: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven!”
In this cry lies your sincere affirmation: “To Thee, O God, I give all a father’s rights over me, to which I wish to submit humbly like a child! In doing so I also acknowledge Thine Omniscience, O God, in all that Thou hast ordained, and beg Thee to treat me as a father has to treat his children! Here I am, Lord, to listen to Thee, and to obey Thee like a child!”
The second sentence: “HALLOWED BE THY NAME!”
This is the assurance of the worshipping soul as to how serious it is in everything it ventures to say to God. That it is with its whole intuitive perception with every word and thought, and does not misuse the Name of God through superficiality! Because it regards the Name of God as much too holy for that!
Consider, you who pray, what you are vowing with this! If you want to be absolutely honest with yourselves, you must confess that hitherto it is just with this that you men have lied in the Face of God; for you never were so earnest in prayer as the Son of God, in expectation, laid down in these words as a condition!
The third sentence: “THY KINGDOM COME!” is again no petition, but only a further vow! A declaring oneself prepared so that through the human soul life on earth shall become such as it is in the Kingdom of God!
Hence the word: “Thy Kingdom come!” This means: we wish also to develop so far here on earth that Thy perfect Kingdom may extend all the way to here! The soil shall be prepared by us so that everything lives only in Thy Holy Will, thus completely fulfilling Thy Laws of Creation, so that it will be such as is done in Thy Kingdom, the Spiritual Realm, where dwell the matured spirits who have become free from all guilt and burdens, who live only in service to the Will of God, because only in Its absolute fulfillment does good arise, through the Perfection inherent in It. Thus it is the assurance of wishing to become such that through the soul of man the earth also shall become a kingdom of fulfillment of God’s Will!
This affirmation is further strengthened through the next sentence: “THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!”
This is not only the declaration of willingness to adapt entirely to the Divine Will, but also the inherent promise to trouble oneself about this Will, to strive with all one’s zeal for the recognition of this Will. Indeed this striving must precede the adaptation to this Will; for as long as man does not know It aright he is not able to adjust himself to It either in his intuitive perception, his thoughts, words and deeds!
What appalling, punishable carelessness is it then for every human being ever and ever again to give these assurances to his God, while in reality he does not trouble himself at all about the nature of the Will of God, Which lies firmly anchored in Creation. Man simply lies with every word of the Prayer when he dares to utter it! He thereby stands before God as a hypocrite! Heaps onto old sins ever again new ones, and finally even feels he is to be pitied when he must break down ethereally under this burden in the beyond.
Only when these sentences are really fulfilled by a soul as a pre-condition can it then go on to say: “GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD!”
That is as much as to say: “When I have fulfilled what I promised to be, then let Thy Blessing rest upon my earthly work, so that in attending to my gross material needs I may always have the time to be able to live according to Thy Will!”
“AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THEM THAT TRESPASS AGAINST US!”
In this lies knowledge of the incorruptible, just reciprocal action of spiritual Laws that give the Will of God. At the same time also the expression of the assurance of full confidence in It; for the plea for forgiveness, thus release from guilt, is based conditionally on the previous fulfillment by the human soul of its own forgiveness of all the wrongs done to it by its fellowmen.
He who is capable of that, however, who has already forgiven his fellow-men everything, is also so inwardly purified that he himself will never intentionally do wrong! Therewith he is also free of all guilt before God, for there only all that is considered a wrong which is done intentionally from evil volition. It is only that which makes it a wrong. This is very different from all human laws and earthly opinions existing at the present time.
Hence the basis also of this sentence is again a promise before its God by every soul striving for the Light. A declaration of its true volition, for whose fulfillment it hopes to receive strength in the Prayer, through deep absorption and becoming clear about itself; with the right attitude this strength will also come to it in accordance with the Law of Reciprocal Action.
“AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION!”
It is a wrong conception when man wants to read into the words that he would be tempted through God. God tempts no one! In this case it is only a question of a doubtful tradition, which unfortunately chose this word temptation. In its right meaning it is to be classed with such concepts as going astray, becoming lost, thus going wrong, seeking wrongly on the path toward the Light.
It means much the same as: “Let us not take wrong paths, nor seek in the wrong way, let us not take risks with time! Waste it, fritter it away! But if necessary restrain us forcibly from doing so, even if such a necessity must strike us as suffering and pain.”
Man should even gather this meaning already through the following part-sentence, which according to its wording indeed directly belongs to it: “BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL!”
The “but” shows clearly enough that they belong together. The meaning is synonymous with: “Let us recognize evil at all costs, even at the cost of suffering! Enable us to do so through Thy reciprocal actions whenever we err.” In the recognizing also lies the redeeming for those of goodwill!
With this ends the second part, the discourse with God. The third part forms the ending: “FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER AND EVER! AMEN!”
As a jubilant avowal of feeling safe in the Omnipotence of God with the fulfilment of all that the soul lays at His Feet as a vow in the Prayer! –
This Prayer given by the Son of God thus has two parts. The introduction of approach, and the discourse. Through Luther there was finally added the jubilant avowal of the knowledge of the help for all that is contained in the discourse; of the receiving of strength to fulfill what the soul vowed to its God. And the fulfillment must then bear the soul upwards into the Kingdom of God, the Land of Eternal Joy and of Light!
Therewith the Lord’s Prayer, if it is really experienced, will become the support and the staff for ascent into the Spiritual Realm!
Man must not forget that in a prayer he actually only has to obtain the strength to enable him to bring into being himself what he asks for! So shall he pray! And so too is worded the Prayer which the Son of God gave to the disciples!