As gentle as a ray of light shining forth its oneness with the sun, prayer graciously shows forth our oneness with our source, our Father-Mother God. This communion may be as simple as a wordless opening of our heart to the presence of Love, like a child leaning into the loving arms of her parent and finding peace.
Prayer embraces not only our indissoluble link to God but also our direct connection with the law of God, the law that is forever providing all that we need for our well-being. Prayer confirms that we do not govern ourselves, but are in accord with the one all-powerful law. Indeed, we are each the reflection of God’s law, the very expression of the loving will of God, good.
Prayer that is based on our unity with God’s law of harmony can transform the human situation. Why? Because our experience is the externalization of our thought, so improvement of consciousness improves our experience. Prayer doesn’t change reality; rather, it reveals what is actually real. To be conscious of reality is answered prayer.
So, when we face something in our experience that suggests a disconnect from the divine law of goodness—whether fear, illness, sin, or lack—prayer affirms our conscious, immutable alignment with God’s law, our divine position, and our right to witness what is true. Consciousness of what is true leaves no room for the belief in anything that is not of God. And if something is not in thought, it is not in our experience.
Christ is the divine influence that uplifts and changes human consciousness to pattern the divine. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, “When Christ changes a belief of sin or of sickness into a better belief, then belief melts into spiritual understanding, and sin, disease, and death disappear” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 442).
The divine message or Christ that Jesus lived and demonstrated is exemplified in the Lord’s Prayer, which invites us to embrace the allness of God and the divine order of all things, and to include all in one affection. The prayer is impartial, inclusive, and universal, as it speaks of “our,” “us,” and “we.”
In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says the Lord’s Prayer “is the prayer of Soul, not of material sense” (p. 14), which “covers all human needs” (p. 16), and she gives the spiritual sense of each line of it (see pp. 16–17). I’ve enjoyed taking a line-by-line look at the prayer and thinking deeply about how I can apply these ideas in my life.
The Lord’s Prayer opens with affirmations of the reality of being. To affirm is to say “Yes!” to Truth. The first affirmation sets the record straight as to the source of our being:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious.
Like a mother bird tenderly brooding over her little ones, our loving Father-Mother embraces us all in a universal family, coexisting in heavenly harmony. Our origin being spiritual, our inheritance is Godlike in beauty, goodness, and immortality. Our individuality is purposefully formed and complete, for it includes the tenderness, grace, and loveliness of God’s motherhood, and the strength, intelligence, and order of His fatherhood. The spiritual reality is that our divine source causes us to be forever healthy and to have infinite capacities for doing good!
Hallowed be Thy name.
How wonderful to affirm the name and nature of God, which Science and Health captures in the synonyms Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, Love, Principle, and all their defining qualities. Since God and man are one in being, yet distinct like a ray of light at-one with the sun, man inherently expresses the divine nature fully, consistently. There are no clouds of anger, selfishness, or other sins, nor of sickness, in the sunlight and holiness of our spiritual nature.
The Christ that Jesus lived and demonstrated is exemplified in the Lord’s Prayer, which invites us to embrace the allness of God and to include all in one affection.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.
What freedom is ours as we affirm that God’s kingdom of harmony is already here and ever present. The word kingdom divides into king, meaning supreme ruler, and dom, meaning jurisdiction or the power to apply the law. The action of God’s law sustains the unbroken and eternal harmony of man and the universe and so precludes and excludes any apparent material law or disordered action of disease, accident, or injustice. The action of divine law reigns throughout God’s infinite universe, within which we peacefully flourish with divine energy, justice, and grace.
Next in the prayer are petitions—for spiritual understanding, daily supply, forgiveness, freedom from temptation, and deliverance from evil. There is a beautiful connection of fulfillment of these petitions that flows from the affirmations.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Enable us to know,—as in heaven, so on earth,—God is omnipotent, supreme.
This humble petition seeks to realize that God’s will is universally done. Through his healing work, Christ Jesus clearly showed that health, harmony, abundance, productivity, and eternal life are God’s will and purpose for all. This removes fear and uncertainty, for God’s plan of inexhaustible goodness is already done. Like a seed which includes the complete design for its fruition, we are a complete idea of God, and all that can unfold is what God has designed. So, we can know that no human outlining, opinions, or medical verdicts can displace the fulfillment of God’s universal will of guaranteed well-being for all.
Give us this day our daily bread;
Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections.
Since God is our Father-Mother, She naturally feeds Her children with the heavenly bread of Life that provides all that is needed for their well-being, now and forever. This divine nourishment evidences the grace of God, our tender Father-Mother’s abundant bestowal causing all to thrive. Indeed, this bread is the opposite of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that results in mortality. Partaking of this bread, as Christ Jesus promised, one never hungers or thirsts, but is sustained forever (see John 6:35).
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And Love is reflected in love.
Since our nature expresses the adorable and hallowed nature of God, it follows that it’s natural for us to express love. Then the only debt that is owed is to love our fellow men and women as they really are. Refusing to accept a mortal history for any individual and acknowledging only his or her perfect, divine individuality, we open the door for Love’s forgiveness to flow into our lives. There we find the Love that never loses sight of each one’s divinely bestowed purity and holiness.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death.
Here we discover two petitions; the first is for freedom from temptation. Because God’s kingdom and rule of law are universal, temptation to deviate from divine law is impossible, for it has no source in God. There is no being tempted or influenced erroneously, for God’s law is ever operative, causing each to be in full and eternal alignment with divine harmony. God’s kingdom is come and is within us all, impelling us to express inexhaustible wisdom and goodness.
The second petition is for freedom from evil. Since God’s will of universal goodness is done, this renders impossible any evil, including sin, disease, and death. God’s will of purity, health, and eternal life is unfolding for all in fulfilling their divine destiny.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All.
Coming full circle, the prayer concludes with the eternal government, power, and irradiance of God’s glory filling the universe. Infinite Life, Truth, Love, hold all in endless, harmonious being.
Mrs. Eddy writes, “Only as we rise above all material sensuousness and sin, can we reach the heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord’s Prayer and which instantaneously heals the sick” (Science and Health, p. 16). When we pray the Lord’s Prayer with this Christianly scientific clarity, we gain fresh inspiration that meets the human need and heals instantaneously.
A dear woman asked me to pray for her, as she had a large tumor in her abdomen. I glimpsed the divine message of the Lord’s Prayer, especially the omnipresence of the kingdom of heaven, and it dawned in my thought that the only substance in the kingdom was Spirit and spiritual. This fact precluded the need to remove a tumor, for there was no such substance in the kingdom that reigned within her. The next day, she reported that she was healed, as the tumor had disappeared overnight. Not long afterward, I saw this woman at a church meeting, and she was completely free and radiant with health.
Even though the Lord’s Prayer was given two thousand years ago, today its message continues to flow to each heart, covering every human need, and embracing all mankind with boundless blessings of the active, healing Christ!