May our Father daily increase our wisdom, love, gratitude, reverence, healing, peace, joy, happiness, laughter and prosperity. In just about 15 seconds I declared my love for you by asking these blessings for you. If you are one who does not know the One as Father, I wish you double portions of blessing.
Deepak Chopra tells us in the Second Spiritual Law of Success, the Law of Giving, that we should never visit anyone without bringing a gift; a card with a sentiment, a flower, a silent prayer or blessing. In fact, he says, a silent prayer or blessing is the best gift of all. He says we should make it a point to bless everyone we meet, every day. He suggested a brief blessing like: I wish you peace, joy and happiness. I thought that covered a lot but I asked what blessings I would like to receive and my list grew to seven things. In a few weeks it grew to nine. In a few more it grew to ten, where I thought it enough.
I began with wisdom because I remembered a proverb that said wisdom was the principle thing. With all my getting, get me wisdom. That pretty much defines my quest for this life. Wisdom teaches the value of love and love springs forth from wisdom. To have some of each brings gratitude for the gifts and reverence for all who provide them. This attitude facilitates healing for self and others. As we become whole, we find peace. In peace we find joy, in Joy we find happiness and contentment. In happiness we find laughter. In the growth these blessings generate, we find a natural prosperity unmeasured by material wealth. If I want these things for me, so do I truly want them for you and for presidents, all their counsel, dictators and evil doers. Who on this earth has no need of blessing?
As I began to apply this wisdom, I was blessed in very unexpected ways. Yet I had much difficulty in remembering to bless everyone I met every day. It occurred to me that I could incorporate this blessing as a blanket blessing for the world during morning and evening spiritual practice. Everyone is blessed, even when I forget to bless an individual I meet. I still try to remember personal blessing and grow better at it with time.
I had nominal religious training in a Protestant denomination between the ages of ten and sixteen. I loved the ritual and not much else. I left the church and the religious family to have all day Sunday for myself. I needed one day each week with nobody telling me what to do, for most of it. About fifteen years later, fatherhood had me asking questions about the meaning of life and I began finding answers wherever I looked, especially in the Scriptures. I became a fascinated Bible student. I would soon learn that every answer raised more questions and I would never know it all.
I did a study on what is commonly called the Lord's Prayer, a prayer that already had a history in America and its schools. In 1962, when the Supreme Court declared that God had no business in government schools, I could see how the atheist's children could be made uncomfortable by this group activity. I did not protest the loss of this daily ritual, or keeping the Pledge of Allegiance ritual, since I was clearly pledging allegiance to the ones who operated the school that was preparing me for a godless life.
Less than two years from the court decision, President Kennedy was assassinated. Less than two years after that, we were going off to Vietnam. Before that war was over we were fighting a war on poverty. Before that war was over we were fighting a war on drugs. I sensed a connection and my study of the prayer confirmed it.
Incidental to my study of this prayer, I learned it was a fitting prayer for those who see theirselves in a paternal relationship to the Supreme Power. Therefore, it could be prayed by Christians, Jews and Muslims. It is a prayer given to students by a master, recognized by all three faiths, upon the request of one student who thought it good to know just how to pray.
It is important to note the master did not respond saying, recite this prayer. He said to pray in this manner and then gave the form which prayer should take. We are free to modify its content to our liking and it is a matter of respect to frame our content in the proper form, as with a business letter. The form is the thing of greatest importance to us and the content as given is secondary, but still important.
The very first word, “Our", is plural possessive - a claim of possession. I am not praying for me. I am praying for us. Who we are depends on my worldview. We might be family, we might be the other people praying with us. We might be the nation in which most of the children prayed for us, five days a week. We might be all the Christians of the world. We might be all the people of the world. We might be every living thing in this world. It is clearly a personal choice to define we/our or child of God.
"Father", the next word, puts to rest all arguments about the name of God. The master shows it is our relationship that matters and the proper address expresses this relationship. “Who is in heaven" distinguishes from a living biological father, but not one who has passed over. “Sacred is your name" does distinguish from any biological father and explains the ancient Hebrew custom of not publicly pronouncing a name. A sacred thing made common is no longer sacred, as in common sense. Name in Scripture also symbolizes authority. For example; Israel means rules with God. This is why Abram's name was changed and Jacob's. We are acknowledging this Father's authority in declaring the sacredness of it.
"Your kingdom comes" points to a future event every generation of believers longs for, and it is our hope. Some of us know this kingdom is both at hand and within us. We know it is one of justice, tempered by mercy, without cruelty.
"Your will is done". It doesn't seem so to many of us and many are critical of this will and its possessor. Never-the-less, form demands this identification in our address. “On earth as in heaven" or even in the heavens, if you prefer. This completes the opening address or identification of the One we wish to hear our prayer. It is the attention getter. What is the point in writing a letter and sending it to the wrong address? Should we then expect any good result?
I realized this prayer works equally well as a daily request or a thanksgiving. I prefer it as a thanksgiving, morning and evening. I will treat it as a thanksgiving here: “We thank you for this day and our daily bread". Even without bread, another day is a wonderful thing to be thankful about. Our daily bread can extend far beyond our food to all our material needs. It is worth noting it is the first thing we ask for or give thanks for because air, water and food are critical to our life.
"And forgiving our offences as we forgive those who offend us". Forgiveness is conditional. We can expect it in the way we practice it. The blessing I began with implies forgiveness in the act of blessing all. I can bless those I despise and I can just as easily forgive them if I so choose, and receive it myself, as needed. Forgiveness brings peace in a way nothing else does. Is there little peace in your world? Then there is little forgiveness in your world.
"Lead us not into testing, (for this we do ourselves) but deliver us from trouble". Many confuse the word evil with the idea of wicked. Wicked is always trouble but trouble is not necessarily wicked and in other Scripture, Father claims to create evil. We could say the flood was evil but it was not especially scheming and calculated trouble for someone's personal gain, which we know as wicked.
In Scripture the formal close comes next and I decided this was the point at which I would personalize this simple prayer, I had recited so often as a boy. “Thank you for helping us become instruments of your peace; blessing those we bless and those who bless us". This is an acknowledgement that my blessing may help no one at all, except it is backed by superior power. I paraphrased a small part of the Prayer of Saint Francis because he was praying for himself and I am still praying for us.
"Thank you for daily increasing our wisdom, love, gratitude, reverence, healing, peace, joy, happiness, laughter and prosperity, especially the leaders and authorities of this world, a world transforming from one of fear to one of love. " This is the gratitude I have for the increased power, as I see it, behind my personal blessing. I see it as a power multiplier. You might see it differently.
"Thank you for granting us wealth, prosperity and abundance, that our light so shines before others, they will see our good works and glorify you. " Although this repeats the last blessing, it is the very thing secular society teaches us to want and is worth repeating. It also reminds us there is one proper purpose for wealth and to pervert this purpose is asking for trouble. Just ask a few lottery winners.
"For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. " The close, in proper form, is confirming the addressee and the equivalent of our Respectfully Yours, on a business letter. I never fully understood why the Roman Catholic Church rejected this close, except some Pope decided it was understood and unnecessary. I will always feel it is an important part of form and properly closes the prayer.
When American children discontinued this prayer in school, one disaster followed another; not that we were free from them in earlier years. I think it is safe to say that some families may have recited the prayer before breakfast each day, but the majority did not and this precipitated much negative change in America and the rest of the world. I did not continue with it on my “own time" once it stopped in school. This was about the same time I left the church and became agnostic, suspicious and resentful of all assumed authority.
My point is that if a great good to the whole world could come from millions upon millions of Christians, Jews and Muslims, asking for and receiving these wonderful, magical blessings, through a few minutes of daily prayer and blessing, why don't we all do it? A unity opportunity. I can think of two reasons. We don't believe it makes a difference and we don't care if it does.
In Napoleon Hill's book, “Think and Grow Rich", he devotes at least a chapter to mastermind alliance. He says there is great power in many people working in common cause. An Aquarian idea for sure. I believe it. What if the purpose of each and every one of us is only to bless the earth, in word and deed? What might be the effect of each of us fulfilling this purpose every day of our lives? It costs us so little to test the idea and the result could just prove we can do something right after all. Surely the deeds will follow the words. Who can bless and remain fearful?
Ed Howes sought and found, knocked and entered. Now he sees things differently. To see more of what he sees, please visit http://www.justanotherview.com or do an author search here at Ezine Articles.