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THE PRAYER THAT 'COVERS ALL HUMAN NEEDS'

From the June 27, 2005 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


"Here let me give what I understand to be the spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer..."—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

Our Father which art in heaven,
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,

Hallowed be Thy name.
Adorable One.

Thy kingdom come.
Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.

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.

Give us this day our daily bread;
Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections;

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And Love is reflected in love;

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.

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.

THERE ARE VERY FEW Christians who are not familiar with the words of the brief prayer that Christ Jesus gave to his disciples when he taught them how to pray. In fact this prayer, just a simple eight lines in many Bibles, is repeated by millions of people, millions of times daily throughout the world.

When we pray this prayer, do we really expect all our needs to be met, and to be healed as a result of praying it? If we expect results from prayer, why does this prayer not bring instantaneous results every time it is uttered? Is there a missing ingredient somewhere?

In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Christian Science Founder Mary Baker Eddy concluded the first chapter, entitled "Prayer," with her spiritual interpretation of this all-encompassing prayer, which she said "covers all human needs" (see pp. 16-17). But perhaps the missing ingredient for instantaneous and certain healing is to be found in these words, "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" (p. 16).

So this is the prayer of "heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness." It is the prayer of spiritual sense that rises above "material sensuousness and sin." It is not a prayer of the head, but of the heart. It is of God, not of man. It is selfless and soaring, and breathes the inspiration of God's allness.

This prayer is one of continuous affirmation of God's presence and power, and of our oneness with our divine Father-Mother. It reveals God's all-harmonious nature, and the exact same nature for man. It explains that God's kingdom of harmony has already come and is ever present. Also that His incontestable loving will is supreme, and is being done now and always, here and everywhere.

The Lord's Prayer affirms that because of the tender family relationship between man and God, humanity is always and continuously supplied with grace to meet every circumstance, love to meet every difficult human relationship, and total immunity from sickness, sin, and death. It rejoices that the only place is His heavenly kingdom, the only power is His unopposable presence, and that His light and glory are infinite, eternal, and the only reality there is. What an affirmation and statement of perfection!

Every time we pray this prayer we can gain fresh inspiration and become more aware of the recurring theme song that the words imply. This is indeed the "heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness" that is its essential ingredient and is available to all.

Our Father which art in heaven
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious

Jesus said, "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9), and this is echoed in Mrs. Eddy's words: "Jesus acknowledged no ties of the flesh. . . . He recognized Spirit, God, as the only creator, and therefore as the Father of all" (Science and Health, p. 31). These truths free us from all the restrictions of material living, its hereditary beliefs, limitations, and mortal genetics. The tender, loving relationship with our one Father-Mother, God, endows us with our true inheritance, and all the glorious qualities of both manhood and womanhood; the tenderness, beauty, and love of Motherhood; and the strength, understanding, and vigor of Fatherhood. It reveals who we really are.

Hallowed be Thy name
Adorable One

God and man are one. There is only one Life, one Mind, one Being, and it is God revealing Himself as our unoptional perfection. The Adorable One, which is God and man, includes nothing discordant or inharmonious, and thus our nature, like God's, is always adorable, the same as God.

Thy kingdom come
Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present

God's kingdom, His reign of harmony, peace, and well-being, is not something that is on the horizon or on the way; it is already here and now, in spite of what the material senses may say. This is the prayer of the acknowledgment of present good, now. This kingdom is within us, as Jesus said, and it is a kingdom of all good. Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "What is the kingdom of heaven? The abode of Spirit, the realm of the real. No matter is there, no night is there — nothing that maketh or worketh a lie. Is this kingdom afar off? No: it is ever-present here" (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 174).

Perfection is not delayed or postponed. Right now, all being is God expressing Himself, and all we have to do is to joyously acknowledge this ever-present realm of divine well-being and abundance. It is here, right now!

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

God's will is the activity of divine Love, blessing all and allowing nothing but good to be manifested in His creation. His will is final, incontestable, irrevocable. No schemes of a counterfeit mind can usurp the place and power of God's ever-present will. Human outlining is not the divine will in action, and a true willingness to let divine Mind express itself as our Life will lift us out of doubt, uncertainty, or fear of present or future events. The will of God is always good and is always right, and His will alone is being done.

Give us this day our daily bread
Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections

When we affirm the absolute certainty of good, it naturally follows that man, as God's loved child, is always supplied with what he needs. He is given daily bread, which, according to Mrs. Eddy, embraces grace, obedience, and love (ibid. p. 127). One dictionary defines grace as "the divine influence ever-operative in man to regenerate and sanctify." The Bible says that Jesus was "filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him" (Luke 2:40). Grace meets all human needs; grace is patience, gentleness, tenderness, and compassion, and there is no circumstance that can arise where the abundance of God's grace is not available to everyone. This indeed feeds famished or starved affections and enriches life.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors
And Love is reflected in love

What actually are our debts? Is it possible that the only debt we owe our fellow man is to see him as he really is — not as sick, aging, sinning, but as God is seeing him, whole, upright, and free? When we refuse to accept the mortal concept of man and only acknowledge his perfect divine identity, we open the door for Love's forgiveness to flow into our lives and wipe away any sense of guilt or of condemnation of man as a mortal or a sinner.

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

Divine Love, God, would never lead His loved creation into temptation, but rather defends and keeps everyone from any suggestions of discord or distress. All temptation is just believing there is another creation, mind, or existence, except God. But reaffirming that His kingdom has come and that His will is being done obliterates the belief that there is another power at work.

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

And so the prayer brings thought back full circle to God's allness, His infinite, eternal presence, and His unopposable power and will. Just think of it. "Thine is the kingdom" — it belongs to God, it is where we dwell as loved children. "Thine is . . . the power," the power by which we live, the power of good. So God is all that is going on anywhere. And "Thine is . . . the glory." The light and radiance of God's presence eliminate darkness, doubt, and fear, and reveal that in spite of what the material senses may claim, God is infinite, eternal, and ALL.

As we become more familiar with praying this prayer from a higher standpoint of "heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness," we will find that it heals instantaneously with inspiration that is fresh and new every day. This is how Christ Jesus prayed, how he taught his followers to pray. And today, as in his time, it meets all human needs. | ♦


Jill Gooding is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher. She lives in East Molesey, Surrey, England.

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