There are but few people who try to realize what they actually want when they say the “Lord’s Prayer.” Fewer still are those who really know the meaning of the sentences which they rattle off. To rattle off is about the only right expression for the process of what in this instance men call praying.
He who unsparingly examines himself in this respect must admit this, otherwise he only proves that he spends his whole life in a similar way, i.e., in a superficial way, and that he is not nor ever was capable of a deep thought. There are more than enough of such people on this earth who indeed take themselves seriously but who, with the best of will, cannot be taken seriously by others.
The beginning of this prayer in particular has always been falsely intuited, albeit in different ways. Those people who attempt to pray this prayer earnestly, i.e. who approach it with a certain good volition, feel rising within themselves at or just after these first words, a certain sense of security, of calmness of the soul! This feeling prevails in them for several seconds after praying.
This explains two things. In the first place that the one who is praying can only maintain his earnestness during the first words which arouse this feeling in him; and secondly, that the feeling thus aroused proves how far removed he is from grasping what he is saying with these words!
This shows plainly either his inability to persist in any kind of deep thinking or his superficiality; otherwise the succeeding words, as soon as they really come to life within him, should immediately arouse a different feeling, corresponding to the different meaning of those words.
Thus only what the first words awaken remains with him. However, if he grasped the right sense and the true meaning of those words they should arouse in him a feeling quite different from one of comfortable security.
More presumptuous people on the other hand, see in the word “Father” the confirmation that they are directly descended from God, and that therefore, given the right development, they will themselves ultimately become divine, while already at the present time they definitely possess something of the divine within them. Many more such errors concerning this sentence exist among men. Most people, however, consider it as simply the form of address in the prayer, the invocation! This requires the least effort in thinking. Accordingly the prayer is uttered thoughtlessly, despite the fact that the invocation to God should carry the greatest fervor of which man’s soul can ever become capable.
But all of that is not what this first sentence is meant to convey or express. Rather, by His choice of words, the Son of God simultaneously gave the explanation or the notification for the way in which a human soul should approach prayer; how it may and indeed must approach its God if the prayer is to be heard. He tells exactly what quality the soul must possess at that moment, and in what condition the pure intuitive perception must be if the soul wants to lay its petition before the steps of God’s Throne.
Thus the prayer is divided into three parts. In the first part the soul approaches and surrenders itself completely to God. Figuratively speaking the soul unfolds itself before Him and thus gives testimony to its pure volition before it brings forth its request. Here the Son of God wants to make clear which intuitive perception alone may form the basis for approaching God! Therefore the words: “Our Father Who art in Heaven!” with which the prayer starts, come as a great sacred vow. Bear in mind that a prayer is not synonymous with a request! Otherwise there would be no prayer of thanksgiving, which contains no request. To pray does not mean to beg. Even in this respect the “Lord’s Prayer” has so far always been misconstrued because of man’s evil habit of never approaching God without at the same time expecting or even demanding something from Him; for every expectation contains a demand. Man, in reality, always expects something when praying. This he cannot deny! Generally speaking, it may merely be a vague feeling within him of one day securing a place in heaven. Man does not know jubilant gratitude in joyful appreciation of the conscious existence granted him through active involvement in the great Creation for the benefit of his environment as willed and rightfully expected by God! He does not even suspect that just in this and only in this lies his real welfare, as well as his advance and ascent.
It is on such a basis, according to God’s Will, that the “Lord’s Prayer” really stands! The Son of God, Who only desired man’s welfare, which entirely depends on the proper observance and fulfillment of the Will of God, could not have worded it in any other way!
Thus the prayer He gave is anything but a petition. Rather it is a great, all-embracing vow in which man lays himself at the feet of his God! Jesus gave it to His disciples who, at that time, were willing to live in the pure worship of God, to serve God through their life in Creation, and by this service to honor His Holy Will!
Man should think over carefully whether he may dare to make use of and utter this prayer at all, and should examine himself earnestly as to whether, in using it, he is not trying to deceive his God!
The introductory sentences admonish everyone plainly enough to examine himself as to whether he really is as he professes to be in this prayer! Whether he thereby dares to approach God’s Throne without guile!
But if you experience the first three sentences of the prayer within you, then they will lead you to the steps of God’s Throne. They are the way thereto if they become a living experience in the soul! No other way leads there. Yet this one does for sure! If these sentences are not experienced, however, none of your petitions can reach there.
When you dare to say: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven!” it should be a devout but at the same time joyful exclamation.
This outcry voices your sincere affirmation: “To Thee, O God, I give all a father’s rights over me and wish to submit humbly to them like a child! With this I also acknowledge Thy Omniscience, O God, in everything that Thou hast ordained. I beg Thee to treat me as a father has to treat his children! I am here, Lord, to listen to Thee and to obey Thee like a child!”
The second sentence: “Hallowed be Thy Name!” This contains the assurance of the worshipping soul as to how seriously it takes everything it dares to say to God, that the full intuitive perception controls its every word and thought, and that it does not misuse God’s Name through superficiality, because it regards the Name of God as being too holy to do so! Bear in mind, you who pray, what you are vowing with this! If you want to be absolutely honest with yourselves you must confess that so far it is precisely in this that you have lied in the face of God; for you were never as earnest in your praying as the Son of God made conditional in these words!
The third sentence: “Thy Kingdom come!” is again no petition, but another vow! A declaration by the soul that it is prepared to make life here on earth such as it is in the Kingdom of God! Hence the expression: “Thy Kingdom come!” That means: we humans will also develop so far here on earth that Thy perfect Kingdom may reach here! We shall so prepare the soil that everything lives only according to Thy Holy Will, thus completely fulfilling Thy Laws in Creation. Then it will become as it is in Thy Kingdom, the Spiritual Realm, where the matured spirits who are freed from all guilt and burdens live only to serve God’s Will. Since Thy Will is perfect, good can only come from unconditional obedience to It. Thus it is man’s assurance that he wishes to develop in such a way that the earth will also become a kingdom where God’s Will is fulfilled through the human soul!
This assurance is strengthened to an even greater extent through the next sentence: “Thy Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven!” This is not only the declaration of willingness to conform entirely to the Divine Will, but it also promises that man will concern himself about this Will and strive ardently to recognize It. Of course this striving must precede the effort to conform to God’s Will, for as long as man does not really know this Will he is not able to adjust himself to It in his intuitive perception, his thoughts, words and deeds! What appalling, punishable carelessness everyone shows by continually repeating these assurances to his God, when in reality he never troubles to find out what is His Will, firmly anchored as It is in Creation. Man utters a lie with every word when he dares to say this prayer! He stands before his God as a hypocrite and a fraud! He keeps on adding new sins to the old ones, and when he breaks down ethereally, as he must under this burden in the beyond, he even feels he ought to be pitied. There have already been three opportunities for man to recognize the Will of God! Once through Moses who had been enlightened for that purpose. The second time through the Son of God, Jesus Himself, who bore the Truth within Himself, and now for the third and the last time in the Grail Message which again has been drawn directly from the Truth. —
It is only when a soul has really fulfilled the preliminary condition imposed by these sentences that it can go on to say: “Give us this day our daily bread!” This means to say: “When I have fulfilled what I promised, let Thy Blessing rest upon my earthly work so that, in attending to my physical needs, I may always retain the time to live according to Thy Will!”
“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us!” In this sentence lies the knowledge of the incorruptible and just reciprocal action of the spiritual laws ordained by the Will of God. At the same time it expresses the assurance of complete confidence therein. For the plea for forgiveness or redemption from guilt is conditional upon the petitioner having previously forgiven all the wrongs inflicted upon him by his fellow-men. He who is capable of that, i.e., who has already forgiven his fellow-men everything, is so purified inwardly that he will never intentionally do wrong! He is then free of all guilt before God, for with God only that is considered wrong which is done with evil desire and intention. It is only that which makes it wrong. This is very different from all the human laws and opinions current in the world today.
The basis of this sentence again contains a promise to its God by each soul striving towards the Light. It proclaims the true volition which the soul hopes to receive strength to fulfill through deep concentration and self-clarification in the prayer. With the right attitude this power will be given to the soul according to the Law of Reciprocal Action.
“And lead us not into temptation!” Man has a wrong conception when he tries to interpret these words as if God would tempt him. God tempts no one! In this case, owing to a doubtful transmission, the unfortunate choice of the word temptation was made. The right meaning would include such concepts as erring, going astray and thus going wrong and seeking the Light on the wrong path. It means: “Let us not take the wrong road, nor seek in the wrong direction! Let us not lose, waste nor fritter away time in such seeking! But if necessary restrain us forcibly from doing so, even if we need to be stricken with sorrow and pain.” Man should have grasped this meaning from the words of the next sentence, which according to its contents evidently belong to it: “But deliver us from evil!” This “but” shows clearly enough that the sentences are connected. The meaning is similar to: Let us recognize evil at whatever cost, even at the cost of suffering. Let every error we commit help us to do so through Thy reciprocal actions. For in the recognition of evil lies the redemption for those who are of goodwill!
With this man’s conversation with God, the second part of the prayer, ends. The third part completes it: “For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, forever and ever! Amen!”
When the soul has laid all it pledged in the prayer at the feet of God, these last words come as a jubilant avowal of feeling protected by His Omnipotence! —
Thus the prayer given by the Son of God has two parts. The introduction or approach to God and the conversation with God. Through Luther there was finally added the jubilant confession of the realization of the help available for everything in the second part of the prayer, and of the strength received to fulfill what the soul vowed to God. And this fulfillment must then carry the soul upward into the Kingdom of God, to the region of Eternal Joy and Light! And so the Lord’s Prayer, if it is truly experienced, becomes the support and the staff for ascent into the Spiritual Realm!
Man should not forget that when praying he actually need only obtain the strength to enable him to achieve himself what he is praying for! That is how he should pray! And that is how the prayer which the Son of God gave to His disciples is meant!