THE LORD’S PRAYER REVISITED
Lim Siok Hong, Chicago,
One day, one of Jesus’ disciples
said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray” and the lord taught them the Lord’s prayer…
My Father who art in heaven, once
again I come before you to offer this prayer to you, in the same manner as you
had taught your disciples to pray in the days when you were on earth. This
prayer has become so much a part of our daily conversations that often you hear
me rattling off the verses with great speed. Today, may this prayer be different.
Teach me, as I pray, to contemplate on the things you were concerned with and
had wanted your followers to pay attention to. Enable me to understand your
many teachings embedded therein, teachings which I have neglected to observe.
Lord, as I acknowledge your
presence in heaven, as I call out “Our Father” with my brothers and sisters in
church, help me to remember that we share one common Father, we are all one in
you. Hence, “there is neither Jews nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female.
Regardless of skin color. Language or backgrounds by whatever definition let me
love to my utmost every brethren in your fold. I
remember the new commandment you gave while you were on earth, that we love one
another as you have loved us so that by our bond of love, others will know that
we are your disciples.Remind me that you are not only watching and guiding, but very
importantly, also preparing place for us.
You shall come in your glory and splendor to receive us to be with you forever.
It won’t be only you and me and saints of old whom I have not personally met.
It will also be the brothers and sisters whom I see during worship services and
with whom I labor in your holy work. With everyone whom I shall meet on that Day,
will I rejoice at the assurance that we are to live as neighbors for eternity?
Is there going to be a face that may not bring a wide smile to my face, perhaps
because of certain grievances or differences which I have failed to resolve
within myself? If I harbor any form of unholy sentiments towards any one of my brethren,
how can I have a clear conscience before you when you come to receive us all
into the heavenly home?
Lord, as I say “Hallowed be Your name,” I am reminded that I cannot be counted true
if I do not keep myself holy. For I am called by your holy name.
Help me today, so that my whole being and my whole preoccupation will be
striving after holiness. I want to fear you and keep your commandments, for
that is my whole duty as a human being.
You shall be holy, for I am holy.” you said.
Grant me strength to simply obey, be it in my conduct, my speech, or my
Lord, I pray that Your kingdom come. I know that I can’t claim to be faithful
to what I pray unless I actively obey your command to bring your kingdom into
the lives of people who are spiritually starving for your mercy and grace.
There are many out there who are still in the clutches of the devil, suffering
as a captive in his kingdom. You have commanded us to bring them out of that
darkness, into your glorious light. I must confess to you, Lord,
that many a time, I fail to open my mouth to share the wonderful grace
of salvation with people who need you. In fact, they are not far from me; they
are around me and they walk beside me and talk with me. A few of them even have
their lives intertwined with mine. Some tell me of their sorrow and pain, which
perhaps is an opportunity from you for me to tell them about you, the almighty who can relieve all woes. Yet, I kept mum.
Sometimes, I excuse myself most
conveniently by turning my eyes to the load of errands to run and the seemingly
all-important task of pursuing a comfortable life for my loved ones and myself.
But, what could be more important than transformed lives and saved souls? Had I
but even tried…O Lord, empower me with the strength of your Holy Spirit. Help
me out of my self-centeredness and spiritual ennui, which will degenerate into
paralysis, unless I awake.
When I say “Your will be done on
earth as it is in Heaven,” I must ask myself if I have put my all before your
loving presence, like a baby sound asleep in the mother’s bosom, wholly
trusting in your promise to take care. In this boisterous sea of life, there
are never-ending waves of toil and sorrow gushing towards me as I sail. Help me
to accept calmly whatever befalls me, allowing your peace which surpasses all
understanding to rule in my heart.
Let me be convicted of your love even when things don’t go my way. You
willingly gave me your very life, so surely you will not withhold anything
which is of benefit to me.Help me also to actively seek to know and fulfill your will so that it
may truly be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give me this day my daily bread.
Each and every day as I repeat these words, let me realize how there is
absolutely no need for me to worry about tomorrow. Lift me up to a higher level
of spirituality where I can completely delight myself in you, trusting that you
will grant me the things I need, for I seek first your kingdom and your righteousness.
Remind me that today is what I have to live for.
Yesterday, with all its glory or shame, is past and tomorrow is still unknown.
So, help me to make the most of today. At the end of the day, I want to know
that I have not wasted it on pursuits which are ultimately futile. I need to
exercise good judgment to do the things which are really worth doing. So, Lord,
grant me the wisdom to tell the difference
Forgive me my debts, I pray, but
let me not forget that I have to first forgive my debtors. Search my heart,
Lord, and reveal to me the better grudges hidden in the crevices of my
Lord, I also call to mind your
words that “man shall not live by bread alone but y every word that precedes
out of (your) the mouth of the Lord.”
Each day, no matter how many task there are that I
have to complete, I shall strive to devote time to learn more of your teachings
and to savior the sweetness of your precious words. In the hurly-burly of daily
living, let me not ignore your call to spend time alone with you, to listen to
you and to talk with you. For it would be a lifeless existence without the
nourishment of your living word of life.
Forgive me my debts, I pray, but
let me not forget that I have to first forgive my debtors. Search my heart, Lord,
and reveal to me the better grudges hidden in the crevices of my imperfect
heart. Give me the magnanimity of your boundless forgiveness, that I may
forgive another just as you have forgiven me.
Open my eyes to see my own transgressions, that I may
be humbled and hence refrain from picking up the first stone to strike another
who has transgressed.
Often, I take offence against another because I assume for myself a primary
position as I relate wit others. “I” has become my central concern. When that
happens, I cannot see how it is more blessed to give then to receive.
Your very earthly life was a perfect demonstration of self-denial and
sacrifice. Let me therefore seek to give rather than receive, and to love
rather then be loved. When I can hold to that principle, I know I shall be
closer to being one who forgives not just once, but like you have instructed,
even seventy times seven!
When I ask “lead me not into
temptation but to deliver me from evil,” arouse in me a vigilance to not place
myself in situations where I am most likely to be tempted. The devil, like a
roaring lion, is walking about, seeking whomever he may devour.
Looking back on my past, I cannot but concede that many a transgression could
have been avoided had I fled from the devil’s lure as soon as I felt his
presence. Often I fool myself into thinking that a little relaxation of my
Christian vigil is not going to hurt, only to find myself wandering father and
father away from you precepts. Lord, I want to rely on the power of your Holy Spirit,
to detect temptations that are stealthily creeping close and be up in arms at
the slightest signs of their intrusions in my life.
Of course, Lord, I must not take
confidence in my own will power and ability in my war against the devil, so
many have fallen along the wayside that I dare not imagine I will never falter.
Therefore, I pray for your preservation so that I may never fall. It is you who
strengthens me and give me hope to do anything because you are the author and
finisher of my faith.
Finally, I pray that the primary
pursuit of my life, no matter where my station is in this world, will be to
follow you and be wholly dedicated to you. May my life be a living attestation
of your rule over my will and pre-eminence in all my interests, for yours is
the kingdom. Let me rely on your power and accomplish great works beyond what I
can achieve on my own, for yours is the power. May all that I am be befitting
my status as your child, for yours is the glory. May all praise be yours
forever more. Amen.