Category Archives: The Lord’s Prayer

Private Prayer

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when 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.
“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
” Pray then like this: 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 debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Mat 6:5-13)

Jesus reveals to us that we have direct access to the Most High God, the essence and the source of all being. Moreover, he reveals that this Most High God is Our Father. Our relationship with God is a parent/child relationship.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4)

Think on this. Childlike humility before God is important because before God you are a child. Ask yourself, “What does it mean to be like a child before God?”

Jesus then gives advice on how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer. He doesn’t say you have pray exactly like this. He give the prayer as a model and says, “Pray then, like this.”

His example is a starting point for people who are grateful to have been a new start through Divine Grace; who want to be delivered from the power of evil, forgiven for past sins, and cared for; and who want to do God’s Will and help to bring his Kingdom on Earth.

Private prayer springs from a deep heart of gratitude. It is a confidential, honest, sincere, introspective, reflective, conversation between you and your Divine Parent, who also happens to be the source and essence of all love, consciousness, and existence.

This wonderful opportunity is available to all of us all the time. Begin with a childlike attitude using he model that Jesus provided and ask God to help deepen your faith and lead you into the truth. The possibilities and potentialities are infinite.

Satisfaction guaranteed!

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Words from a Heart of Love

Words matter.

Words can teach, uplift and heal, and give life to our spirts. Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”

When Jesus asked the twelve disciples if they too wanted to leave him, Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

Yet, words can also do great damage. Deceitful words can sow doubt, cause rancorous division, and create disorder, pain, and division.

Adam Eve and the Serpent

In Genesis 3, we see that the words of the serpent resulted in the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden.

James 3:6-8 says:

And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue–a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

So the words that the tongue speaks can be used for good or evil. In Matthew 12:34-37, Jesus points out that the quality of our words stems from the condition of our heart:

“You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Jesus explains further in Matthew 15:18-20

“… what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man;”

So if we engage in false witness, malicious lies, of slander, it reveals that there is something wrong with our heart. If our heart were pure we would see God. Our heart would be filled with truth, love, and peace and we would speak words of truth, love and peace.

If we speak evil words, our hearts are not full of love, peace and joy. We feel a lack of love, fear, doubt, and perhaps resentment or hatred. We may be filled with false pride, envy, greed, lust, or anger. These feelings are not healthy for ourselves or others. They will bring us down.

It is not easy to control one’s words. It is not easy to purify one’s heart. But with God all things are possible.

Still Waters

Jesus, the sinless messiah, the perfect man, the true Son of God, died for the sins of mankind. On the cross he prayed for our forgiveness.

We need to pray to our Heavenly Father. We need to ask the Father to forgive us for our sins. God in his gracious mercy will send the Holy Spirit to forgive and comfort us. God will send the Holy Spirit to bring us back to life so that we can be reborn in His love.

When we feel this gift of grace, we need to continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will give us power to sin no more. Old habits die hard. We can not change without the help of the Holy Spirit to guide, teach and comfort us. But with the help of the Holy Spirit we can change old patterns of thought, speech, and behavior. We can be reborn and our hearts can be cleansed and purified. Then God will dwell within us and our thoughts, words and deeds will shine with the light of truth and love. We will become the true sons and daughters of God.

We also must learn to forgive others. The Kingdom of God is not a solo flight. It is a family affair. It includes not just our biological family, not just our race or nation, but everyone in the whole world.

In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others.”

After teaching the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15,

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Road to the Temple of Peace

Through repentance and forgiveness we can receive the love of God and be born again. Through repentance and forgiveness, reconciliation can occur. Through repentance and forgiveness, God’s Kingdom will come.

If we follow this way, our hearts will become pure and we will speak words of truth, love, and life.

How then do we help those around us who speak lies or engage in malicious gossip and slander?

First of all, do not condemn them, but just as Jesus did, forgive them and pray for them.

The second step is paradoxical and must be practiced to be understood. The second step consists of introspection, self-examination, and purification of one’s own heart.

If we see people engaging in lies, malicious gossip, and slander, we know that the problem lies in the heart. There is a sin problem.

Jesus said in Luke 6:42,

.. how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

The proud will be humbled and sinners will be brought to repentance. God is a God of both judgement and mercy. It is not our job however to humble the proud and bring sinners to repentance. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

If we repent, sin no more, forgive others and pray for others, then God will show us clearly what we should do. We will see the power of the Holy Spirit at work and if  God wants to use us the Holy Spirit will guide our words and actions.

There is no one-size -fits-all solution to every situation. That is why we pray for divinely inspired wisdom.

James 1:5 says,

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.

James 3:14-17 clarifies further,

…if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.

So ask God to purify your heart and deepen your faith. Then pray for wisdom. God will guide you and you will see the power of the Holy Spirit at work.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Our Father, who art in Heaven, thy kingdom come.

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Trust God and Do Well Sept 6 2016

Is it possible to heal our nation and heal the world. I believe so, if we have faith, love God, and do well. Peace.

 

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Lead me not into temptation…

This is a tough one. On a theological level it raises questions. On a personal level it hits home.

If one says to Our Father who art in Heaven,  “Please don’t lead me into temptation,” that would seem to imply that when we are tempted it is God that is leading us into temptation.

If it is God’s will that His Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven, then why would God lead us into temptation?

Now, to be clear, it does not say that God is the one who tempts us. It merely implies that God may lead us into a situation in which we are tempted.

That makes more sense, because if we are to become perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect, then we should be able to resist temptation.

After his baptism by John, when the Holy Spirit descended and a voice from above said, “This is my only Son in whom I am well pleased,” Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness to fast for 40 days before beginning his public mission.

During that 40 days, we are told that he was tempted by Satan himself with three great temptations. He withstood the temptations by reciting verses from scripture.

Moreover, the story goes on to say that, in addition to these three temptations. Jesus was tempted in every way that it is possible for a man to be tempted and he overcame every temptation.

God allowed the man Jesus to be tempted in every way before he began his public ministry.

Jesus began his ministry as the Messiah on the foundation of his spiritual victory.

Because he overcame temptation, he is the Way.

St. Paul said that Jesus is the first fruits and we are to become like him. So perhaps in order to become like Jesus, we also need to overcome temptation.

Therefore, we may be lead into temptation.

If one has never been tempted, how does one know how he or she will respond?

To teach the Way, one must become the Way.

There are many more questions, but for now I want to repeat that Jesus resisted Satan by quoting sacred scripture. There is power in the words of sacred scripture.

It is not only Christianity that testifies to this power.

To give an example. Five hundred years before Jesus lived, Buddha gave this advice:

Those who recite many scriptures but fail to practice their teachings are like a cowherd counting another’s cows. They do not share in the joys of the spiritual life. But those who know few scriptures yet practice their teachings, overcoming all lust, hatred, and delusion, live with a pure mind in the highest wisdom. They stand without external supports and share in the joys of the spiritual life.

-Dhammapada 1:19-20

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