ARThe Lord's Prayer RevisitedIf we look hard enough, we can find the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. The same holds true for the Lord's Prayer.When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He introduced the Lord's Prayer. To this day, millions of Christians still recite this
prayer. Yet how many people actually think about the words from this prayer?
Many times we find ourselves reciting it at rapid speed. If you take the time to
reflect on the words, they will reveal to you the Lord's will.
One day, one of Jesus' disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray" and the Lord taught them
the Lord's Prayer . . . (Lk 11:1-4; Mt 6:9-13).
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.?br>
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 Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female"
(Gal 3:28). 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 a place for us
(Jn 14:3). 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
(Jas 2:7). 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
(Eccl 12:13). "You shall be holy, for I am holy," you said (1 Pet 1:16). Grant me strength to simply obey, be it in my conduct, my speech, or my thoughts.
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.?br>
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
(Phil 4:7; Col 3:15). 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
(Rom 8:32). 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
(Mt 6:33). 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.
Lord, I also call to mind your words that "man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of (your) the mouth of the Lord"
(Deut 8:3; Mt 4:4). Each day, no matter how many tasks there are that I have to complete, I shall strive to devote time to learn more of your teachings and to savor 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 bitter 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
(Col 3:13). 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
(Jn 8:1-9). Often, I take offence against another because I assume for myself a primary position as I relate with others. "I" has become my central concern. When that happens, I cannot see how it is more blessed to give than to receive
(Acts 20:35). 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 than 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 that you "lead me not into temptation but 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
(1 Pet 5:8). 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 farther and farther away from your 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 intrusion 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 gives 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 your 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.