|Spirituality For Life|
|Page: Spirituality and Lord's Prayer|
A SPIRITUALITY BASED ON THE LORD’S PRAYER
A Path toward Eternal Light, Love, and Life
This article offers a framework for spirituality with the outcome of fulfilling one’s individual destiny – both in God’s realm in this life, and in life eternal. Our collective destiny is surely eternal existence with the triune Godhead in his Kingdom, which can begin to be experienced even in this life.
The use of the Lord’s Prayer for this framework for spirituality is based on the premise that in the Christian tradition, many classical expositors treat the Lord’s Prayer as a compendium of the whole gospel concerning God, humankind, and salvation.(1) One respected spiritual writer wrote: “The Our Father contains all possible petitions; we cannot conceive of any prayer not already contained in it. It is to prayer what Christ is to humanity.”(2)
Seven life-giving principles based on the Lord’s Prayer are presented as follows. These can provide structure for a spirituality for life.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name
Come to acknowledge the existence of a living, personal, and loving Creator God.
Setting aside time for prayer and meditation are practical ways in which to quieten the mind and to reflect on the meaning and purpose of one’s life. In the stillness and silence of solitude, realities of life and existence begin to emerge. The psalmist wrote: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NIV). An appreciation for the Sacred Word also arises.
Spiritual writer, Bede Griffiths, wrote:
Personally, I find that meditation, morning and evening, every day, is the best and most direct method of getting in touch with reality. In meditation, I try to let go of everything of the outer world of the senses, of the inner world of thoughts, and listen to the inner voice, the voice of the Word, which comes in the silence, in the stillness when all activity of body and mind cease. Then, in the silence, I become aware of the presence of God, and I try to keep that awareness during the day. In a bus or a train or travelling by air, in work or study or talking and relating to others, I try to be aware of this presence in everyone and in everything. (Bede Griffiths, from the Inner Direction Journal, Summer 1996.)
Your Kingdom come
Realize the need to make a commitment to totally surrender one’s life to the Creator God – a loving God who reveals God-self in the Holy Scriptures.
In deeply reflecting on life, one begins to recognize how powerless one ultimately is, and how life often turns out to be unmanageable, and not the way one had imagined or charted.
In recognizing the existence of a benevolent and loving Creator God, the only recourse becomes to fully submit to God in trust and faith. The Scriptures breathtakingly reveal how God already dwells in the human heart! In this way “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21, NIV). Surrendering to God is now a joyful reality.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Live life anew, dedicated to the purposes of God, leaving the old self (one’s ego) behind.
In a life lovingly surrendered to God, one becomes “a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV). Former habits and patterns of thinking, speaking, and acting are progressively left behind. There is a newness of life; the ego no longer dominates. The Scriptures describe the process in which one has to “to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV).
Give us today our daily bread
Daily, live in the awareness of the continued presence and bountiful provision of God.
The Scriptures show the need to be present-oriented – to live life in the present. To live mindfully throughout today – rather than continually burdened by the past, or worried by the future. In the Scriptures, the apostle Paul writes: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal” (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV). Jesus himself said: “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?” (Matthew 6:25, NIV).
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
Unconditionally accept and forgive oneself and others.
Forgiveness becomes critically important for those already today dwelling in God’s Kingdom. Jesus soberly reminds readers: “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15, NIV). Later he shares a parable in which there is a cruel, unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35). The outcome for this unforgiving servant is devastating. Jesus ends with: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (verse 35, NIV).
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
Build into life, and continue with, spiritual practices and discipline to withstand straying from God and falling prey to evil.
To reach one’s destiny both in this life and beyond this life – an endless life in the glorious Kingdom of God – calls for on-going dedication, devotion, and loyalty. Becoming sidetracked and distracted is ever-present. Consequently, faithfulness to spiritual practices is paramount. Down through the ages, those who have entered the Kingdom of God in life have found reading of Scripture and prayer to be lifelines which give strength for the challenges to live out life according to the Kingdom values of life.
For yours is the kingdom and the powerand the glory forever. Amen
Live life with praise to the Creator God springing from a heart of gratitude.
Living a spirituality based on the Lord’s Prayer enables one to grow in the love of God. Inevitably one will come to be given desire and strength to share God’s love, joy, peace, and tenderness with all people – in whatever one does and wherever one is.
The following fitting words of praise and thanksgiving come from the book of Isaiah:
In that day you will say: I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
In that day you will say: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you. (Isaiah 12:1-6, NIV)
Photo credit: Intellimon Ltd.
(1) C. P. M. Jones, “The New Testament”, in The Study of Spirituality, ed. Cheslyn Jones, Geoffrey Wainwright, and Edward Yarnold, SJ (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 74.
(2) Simone Weil, Waiting for God, trans. Emma Craufurd, with an introduction by Leslie A. Fiedler (New York: Putnam’s Sons, 1951), 151. Weil (1909-43), now considered among the most influential thinkers and spiritual writers of the twentieth century.