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The Seven Prayers in the Lord’s Prayer

These simple, oft-repeated words carry a deep connection to God.
The Lord's Prayer
Credit: Jim Anness
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Think about it. The Lord’s Prayer can be divided into seven prayers:

1)  Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
God is a parent, full of that parental love. Some people have trouble with “Our Father” because, well, they had a flawed dad or even mom. No matter. You have God. And God is here on earth. We honor that presence with those words “hallowed be thy name.” In the Jewish tradition the Lord’s name isn’t even spoken aloud. How holy is that?

2)  Thy kingdom come. 
Three precious words to express that inner yearning for God’s reign to be established now, right now. On earth. Look around you. See it in the kindness of a friend, the love of a neighbor, the compassion for the poor. Feel it in the natural realm—the wind, the rain, the sun. The world is evolving. Pray for it to be on the right side of love.

3)  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
These words echo Jesus’ words prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane in the agony leading up to the Crucifixion and would be appropriate to use at the end of every prayer, especially with that ender, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Bringing heaven down to earth. After all God is in everything. We just need to see it.

4)  Give us this day our daily bread.
My favorite petition. We pray collectively for every person’s daily bread. Honoring the Son who shared wine and bread at the Last Supper. No hoarding here. Just enough for bread and maybe some for the morrow. Our daily bread.

5)  Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. 
Or “trespasses” or “sins” or “wrongs.” It’s a quid pro quo; we forgive as we have been forgiven. That means that insulting thing somebody said against you. Or the sibling who took something of Mom’s after she died before even asking if you wanted it. Or the church member who talked your ear off in church. Forgive, forgive, forgive. You forgive me, I forgive them.

6)  Lead us not into temptation.
The Lord knows our weaknesses. He knows our vulnerabilities. We can follow the right path knowing the Lord is looking out for us. Listen for those inner voices that say, “Not that, not this…that.” Listen.

7)  But deliver us from evil.
Evils are all around us, and in some of the most tempting guises. How else would they lure us in? Wealth, status, success. Gosh, that sounds great. But at what cost? God’s own goodness is free. No interest charged. What better bargain could be there?

Those are the seven prayers, and it’d be hard to top them—and the depth of them—in any situation. If someone asks if you’ve prayed today, say “Sure. I said the Lord’s Prayer.” That’s saying it all. More than anything.

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