Friday, March 8, 2013

The Lord's Prayer


After a semi-sleepless night of leg cramps that made me want to gnaw my own leg off, I wake up at 6am. After waking my son up and telling him to get ready for school, I decide to lie back down and sleep a little longer...only to wake up two hours later to find that my son had gone back to sleep and missed the bus and breakfast! I probably could have handled that situation much better, but I must admit that I let my frustration get the better of me. As soon as I realized it, I had to bring my thoughts and emotions under control and cry out to the Father to help me remain centered in His grace. I had to pray.

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 and forgive us our trespasses 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory
Forever and ever Amen.

Christ taught His disciples to pray in this way, but I think that sometimes we repeat it so often, that we don't stop to think what it truly means. Lately, I have been making it a point to be conscious of the liturgy I repeat and the prayers that I pray. It has made all the difference in the world, and God has really spoken to me through my treasured traditions. The Lord's Prayer was the focal point of my day today and the first two statements really spoke to my heart this morning. Let me tell you how my heart sang with understanding.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.

Proper perspective always begins with the knowledge of God's holiness. Holiness means set apart, or transcendent. When I go to God in prayer, so often, I rush through a list of needs and don't wait around for a response. But, as I have learned to get quiet and enter into His presence, I find that everything around me fades away and my heart enters that transcendent place where God's heart abides. We connect. It is in that place that I see how beautiful and holy He is - and that phrase, "hallowed be Thy Name" becomes real.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

I have heard it said that for His kingdom to come, my kingdom must go. I am not sure I agree with that entirely. To me, Christ's love transforms in such a way that my desires do not fade, they conform to God's desires. The more I seek God, the more my heart aligns with His until His will becomes my all-consuming desire. My kingdom must not go. My kingdom must transform. The most beautiful part of this phrase, though, is this: "on Earth as it is in Heaven." Today, I stopped to consider what this might actually mean. I had to stop and ask myself, "How is God's will done in Heaven?" Well, His will is done the moment He speaks, without hesitation. Oh, that I may submit to the point that I instantly know His voice without doubt and react in immediate obedience without question! And all the while His will is being done in Heaven, there exists nothing but constant praise. Perfect praise. Praise with every fiber of every being in Heaven. Oh, that the whole of the earth would be filled with His praises!

When I realized these truths from just the first two lines of the prayer, I found myself in tears of joy, completely unaware of what was happening around me. I was just basking in the presence of the Creator of all things, Who, in His deep love, has chosen to notice someone as small as me. And I realized as I felt those cleansing tears wash down my face, that I had never felt so happy or so fulfilled in all my life. Looking back, I realized that I never did ask Him about any of the things that concerned me that day. I didn't ask for His intervention in any of the burdensome situations that I had carried with me into prayer this morning. The amazing thought hit me - I dropped every bit of my burden when the awe of my Father's presence hit my heart. I left them at His feet, completely forgotten in the rapture of the knowledge that One so holy and powerful cares for me.

In Him, through Him, and for Him,

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