Recent Meditations on the Lords Prayer have yielded some insights, and some questions. I have become aware that there may be a progression of spiritual maturity established by or contained in the Lord’s Prayer by reason of the order of requests / acknowledgements / declarations being made as well as the states of understanding, states of consciousness, and states of spirituality or being required for genuine expression of each part
Consider the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, Who art in heaven
Collective, Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring that we collectively but also with an understanding that our self is included, want his attention, want to talk, and that the praying self exists within in a community that has a collective connection to God as Father, which means leader, and that the group as well as the praying self are counted as His children or His child – but understanding the relationship is mostly communal by the proximity of the collective pronoun “our, and perhaps that He is distant, noting that His location is perhaps somewhere as far away as the heavens while we are apparently not in that place – even as some Fathers on earth may be perceived as distant
Hallowed be Thy name
Still collective, by reason of the proximity to the collective pronoun “our” but also more personal as evidenced by the gradual distance developing from the collective pronoun ‘our’, Acknowledging / Declaring and entering into agreement both community or priestly as well as personal Worship and Reverence – which the latter brings us and our self included closer to Him as though part of the heavenly host that is gathered by the crystal sea praising his name forever.
Thy kingdom come
Still collective, priestly, but also becoming more personal as distance continues to grow from the collective pronoun “our”, Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring that the Kingdom is His, That He is the King, and that His kingdom is coming, or can come, or will come, or has already come, apparently from somewhere else if it needs to come here.
Thy will be done
Still collective,priestly, but also growing more personal, Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring that His will can be, or will be, or already is the most important in comparison to the will of any other spirit or person including the one praying, Consciously surrendering ego to His will and declaring both a priestly and personal awareness of the need and desire and importance of remembering that His will exists in power above our own.
On earth as it is in heaven
Still collective, priestly, as there has been no change of pronoun, but also more and more personal as the distance from the pronoun “our” grows, Declaring / Requesting / Acknowledging that there is a connection between earthly and heavenly expression of His will and where it shall prevail, perhaps uniting the two realms by proximity and
Give us this day our daily bread
A return of the Collective, priestly Declaration / Acknowledgment / Request as witnessed by the collective pronoun returning in the form of “us” but also using a pronoun “us” in a way that God has also used as collective pronoun to describe himself as placed within a trinity, Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring that He gives us each day of our life, He is the Giver of Life, our sustenance comes from Him, that He is our provider, and also now Elevating the request for sustenance to the level of a priestly prayer for the fellowship of all believers (agape love), as well as the fellowship of neighbors (phileo love), but certainly also something that one wants for one’s self
And forgive us our trespasses
Still priestly, still Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring that He is the one who forgives, and that by general study and understanding we know that there may be conditions attached to the ability to have standing to even make such a request, but also personal because forgiveness must work on the individual level if there is ever to be a personal relationship
As we forgive those who trespass against us
Now clearly both priestly and personal because although we are reminded of the collective by the pronoun “we” it is also true that no praying person can succeed in Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring or somehow by speaking, create or force development of a group level consciousness to forgive… Forgiveness being the very personal and highly individual thing according to all teaching and prophecy, apparently by its very nature
Lead us not into temptation
Now clearly both an effort made to be priestly but more truly personal because no praying person can succeed in Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring or somehow by speaking, create or force development of a group consciousness of temptation… and Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring a collective but also personal need to be led, and specifically to be led away from temptation, since the experience of temptation is the first step toward a potential behavior that can separates us from God
But deliver us from evil
Again priestly but also personal because no praying person can say they don’t want this particular thing for themselves, Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring a personal desire for the blessing of the collective that He is the one who has the ability to save us from the war or prison created by temptation, since one would not need to be delivered unless evil was pursuing or if one had only been tempted, evil… Instead, there seems to be a supposition that the experience of falling into trouble from temptation may not be the end of the communal experience as well as personal experience evoked within the prayer so far, Requesting / Acknowledging / Declaring His power to provide this deliverance,
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
Now we again find distance between the collective pronoun, and shift to a highly personal statement, or agreement in prayer Acknowledging / Declaring that there is a He, that the Kingdom is His, that there is a Power, that the Power is His, as well as that there is a Glory, which Glory is his…. But notice the form of prayer is no longer requesting) but is Acknowledging / Declaring both a collective and personal result of having been delivered from evil (notice the conjunction “for” which means this next part of prayer is connected to the previous part of the prayer, the part just spoken, meaning that because or as a result of deliverance from evil we and I n are clearly Declaring our freedom and the resulting ability to understand or see Him, His Kingdom, and His Glory, apparently without geographical limitation as suggested by the opening appeal to Father which is set within a concept that he is far away in the heavens.. Apparently He is here, now, supremely in charge, possessing both power and glory
The world “Forever” is not found in the earliest versions of scripture containing what we now call the Lord’s Prayer. Nor are the words “Forever and Ever”. I am led to believe that the Requests, Acknowledgments, and Declarations were not taught as being bound by time, in the same way that time cannot contain nor define, nor even matter to God nor to our own eternal soul. When we are spiritually mature, we are not imprisoned by time, controlled by time, nor victims of time. Having been delivered, the soul is eternally present with God in a time without beginning and without end. Thus no mention of time is necessary. But if time will be mentioned, then whoever added “Forever and Ever” may be attempting to say something along the lines of this state of affairs of Requesting, Acknowledging / Declaring His authority and His power to deliver from evil is a concept that is not bound by time unless one considers how long a time it may be if that time were “forever and ever” which strikes me as Forever plus forever or even forever squared. I have to note that there is not a meaningful difference.
It is this last bit, of knowing deliverance which can come only from God, and acknowledging the authority of His power and the tremendousness of His glory are present for us to partake in, without regard for time, that our spiritual maturity has progressed to the point where no more words are needed. Which brings us to a new plane, where experiencing God and living out a personal relationship with Him no longer requires words. For now, I no longer live, but am made one with God by his express offer of invitation to return to the state of being before the sins of Adam and Eve when a man was created in His image and likeness to live an eternity, a time without beginning or end, which is the definition of a moment, in his presence, over and over and over….
The questions that follow this meditation – for me – include questions about how to unpack or understand the rich meaning in such a lesson. Why were these specific words chosen? What is the lesson? Where does this prayer leave us that we were not already when we began? What is next? Are the stages or verses or separate acts of consciousness required to pray the prayer meant to be understood as a single experience, with complete understanding, which seems unlikely since a new believer cannot comprehend all of what is being prayed, or are they pointing to a progressive manifestation of spiritual progression, progressive steps along a journey to oneness with God? As these questions occur to me, I am aware of the similitude of knowing and not knowing, experiencing the cloud of unknowing, a mystery of being both in His presence but also one with Him who is now in my presence.