For thine is the
kingdom, the power, and
the glory, forever, amen.
(Understanding God Time)
The Lord’s Prayer began by grounding us in our relationship with the Father, and it ends now by solidifying our faith in that kinship. We have already talked about how the kingdom, power, and the glory of God are played out within the living hour; but most of us are not satisfied with this daily bread. We want to know that there is a divine plan, with a definitive beginning and end, that’s been arranged by the Father.
Our desire to see the culmination of God’s plan is what led Jesus’s early Jewish followers to believe that he was an earthly messiah. And it is what fuels today such false beliefs as the rapture and Jesus’s second-coming out of the clouds. Without an end–game in place, we find our faith under assault,1 as we try to make sense of a world filled with horrors, suffering, and loss. Yet it is precisely this lack of knowledge in God’s final act (like our uncertainty in what happens to us after we die) that creates the condition which rewards those with the faith of but a mustard seed.
If we are to acquire that life giving faith, and get glimpses of the Father’s divine plan, we must take a “big picture” view of our lives and the history of the world. This means letting go of human time and entering God time. With human time we focus on beginnings and ends, and see time as a product that can be saved, lost, and spent. And we view morality within the limits of those human constraints. But with God time we are dealing with a cyclical ebb and flow that cannot be pinned down—and where moral reckoning occurs on a timeline that far exceeds an individual lifetime.
Our life in Christ is beyond beginnings and ends—which is why Jesus says that he existed before Abraham2 and his words will live on even after heaven and earth pass away.3 The Holy Spirit constantly is in the process of rising and receding. This means that the crucifixion of our ego is not a one time affair. We are called to repeatedly lay down our lives,4 as we rise ever closer toward our divinity.
Jesus imparts this teaching of recurring crucifixion when he tells us that we must pick up our crosses daily.5 And our repeated rise toward Christ is demonstrated in the gospel story by Jesus’s reappearance within the form of a person that his disciples do not recognize.6 When, during the course of our spiritual evolution, we shed our egos, even those closest to us often fail to recognize the new person we’ve become. The fact that Jesus chooses to crucify his ego yet again, having already risen in Christ and been able to teach the gospel, demonstrates that no matter how high we’ve risen the ego continually builds new obstacles that need to be overcome.
When we pray For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever, amen, we are thus confirming our faith in today’s living Christ;7 as well as God’s divine plan that we, his children, can feel only intimations of but never fully know.8 As the 19th century Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker once said: “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I can calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see, I am sure it bends toward justice.”
You have been reading Chapter 12 from the book The Living Hour: The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life (with New Testament Gospels). This faith book on life and the power of the The Lord’s Prayer is available for purchase in trade paperback below.
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- A violent squall came on, and the waves kept crashing into the boat, so that the boat was actually filling. 38 Jesus was in the stern asleep upon the cushion; and the disciples roused him and cried: “Teacher! Is it nothing to you that we are lost?” – Mark 4:37–38 [↩]
- “You are not fifty years old yet,” the Jews exclaimed, “and have you seen Abraham?” 58 “In truth I tell you,” replied Jesus, “before Abraham was, I am.” – John 8:57–58 [↩]
- I tell you that even the present generation will not pass away till all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. – Luke 21:33 [↩]
- This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life—to receive it again. 18 No one took it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to receive it again. John 10:17–18 [↩]
- “If anyone wishes to walk in my steps, let them renounce self, and take up their cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23 [↩]
- After saying this, she turned round and looked at Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 “Why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” he asked. Supposing him to be the gardener, Mary answered: “If it was you, sir, who carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away myself.” – John 20:14–15 [↩]
- They could not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were at a loss to account for this, all at once two men stood beside them, in dazzling clothing. 5 But, when in their fear the women bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them: “Why are you looking among the dead for him who is living?” Luke 24:3-5 [↩]
- The heavens and the earth will pass away, but my words shall never pass away. But about that day and hour, no one knows: not even the angels of heaven, nor yet the Son, but only the Father himself. Matthew 24:36 [↩]
The late M. Scott Peck begins his wildly successful bestseller The Road Less Traveled with the following pronouncement: Life is difficult. This is the great truth, one of the greatest truths–it is a great truth because once we see this truth, we transcend it. Peck’s train of thought finds its lineage in the Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths, the first of which is: all life is suffering.
Although Jesus and Buddha share much common ground, on this issue they diverge. Jesus’s gospel does not teach that “life is difficult” but rather “we MAKE life difficult” both for ourselves and others. Jesus praises God for revealing his Kingdom to the childlike1 (or babes, depending on the Gospel writer) because young children are unique among us in not making life difficult for themselves; instead they approach each day with a sense or wonder, joy, and curiosity.
It is only after our egos lead us to believe that we’ve become wise and learned that life turns difficult; that we feel compelled to argue, meddle, and over-rationalize; that we begin to look for hidden agendas under every stone; that we wring our hands over the past and fret over the future; that we preach instead of listen; that we forget that we are all Sons and Daughters of God living out the wonderful drama of creation. It is only after we realize THIS great truth that we can truly begin to transcend our current circumstances, realize the Christ in our lives, and take the road less traveled.
To read about Miguel de Unamuno and how a life of solitude feeds a life of society and fellowship, please go to: Solitude & Society
Gain fresh insight into the Lord’s Prayer. Read our free online book The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life. The prayer’s hidden teachings will enrich and inspire you. Click the following link to begin reading the Living Hour book now: The Lord’s Prayer.
- “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that, though thou has hidden these things from the wise and learned, thou has revealed them to the childlike! Yes, Father, I thank thee that this has seemed good to thee.” Luke 10:21 [↩]
The book The Lords Prayer for Daily Life was written in a way that we hope appeals to both teens and adults, each group of readers being able to take certain lessons from it, or simply food for further thought. But what about the child?
The Lord’s Prayer is the kind of prayer that children can learn at a young age, and it far surpasses that old standard: Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take–a prayer which makes children think that the Grim Reaper is going to descend upon them in their sleep.
To assist Progressive Christian parents we’ve taken inspiration from the material of The Living Hour book to write some thoughts on how you can teach the Lord’s Prayer to your kids in a meaningful way, so that the act of childhood prayer goes beyond simple recitation. So, if you are asking how to teach the Lord’s Prayer to children, here are our suggestions:
Our Father who art in heaven. Jesus begins the Lord’s Prayer by letting us know that we are all in this together. God, the Father, is the father of all people. He is the father of people who we like and who we dislike; people who we agree with and who we disagree with; people who look like us and don’t look like us; people who believe in him and who don’t believe in him. By telling us that our one true Father is in heaven, Jesus is reminding as that we are all Sons and Daughters of God, and that our lives go on forever.
Hallowed be thy name. You know how when someone calls you by your name, it is like they think they know you? Well, Jesus doesn’t tell us God’s name in the Lord’s Prayer because God is so big we can never know all of him. Jesus can describe God’s name, though. He calls it hallowed. The word “hallowed” comes from the word “holy,” which comes from the word “whole”. Jesus wants us to see us and God always together as a whole being. We are not separate. We are one.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Jesus teaches us in the Bible that the kingdom of God is within us and all around us right now. The problem is that we often don’t see it. Because we don’t see his kingdom, we end up making a lot of bad choices. When we make good choices though we are doing the will of God. We are making his kingdom come alive inside of us and in other people. That is why we should always try hard to make good choices and love each other.
On earth as it is in heaven. When people die they go to heaven, but when they live they go to heaven too. It is just that on earth, heaven (like the kingdom) is pretty hard to see sometimes. People hurt each other and do bad things. We get angry when we don’t get what we want or when people are not nice to us. But Jesus wants us to know that if we can just let those bad feelings go and forgive people, the world can be a pretty wonderful place.
Give us this day our daily bread. We all need food to live, right? Well, in this part of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus also is talking about something that we need to live. But he is not talking about food. When Jesus taught he liked to use symbols. You know, like a smile is a symbol that you are happy. Jesus is using bread as a symbol of our experiences. Every day we have new experiences. These experiences can make us happy, sad, angry, or whatever. But we need them all, even if we don’t like them all. Because every experience helps us grow.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. We all makes mistakes. Sometimes we hurt the feelings of other people and don’t even know it. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus calls these things that we do wrong “trespasses”. When we trespass the most important thing is to understand what we’ve done. Then to ask for forgiveness. If you forgive other people, then they are more likely to forgive you. It is no good to stay angry at someone. It doesn’t feel good to be angry. When we get angry we just hurt ourselves. So, just forgive people, and you’ll feel a whole lot better. You will also feel a lot better when they forgive you, too.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. When we talk to God, sometimes we are tempted to ask him for things we don’t need. We pray to him for special favors. But with this line of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is telling us that God is not our private wish factory. God already knows what we need, so we shouldn’t be tempted to pray for stuff. We can though pray for him to protect us all from harm; to protect us from doing things that hurt ourselves and other people–that is what deliver us from evil means.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen. Jesus ends the prayer with some great news. He tells us that God, our Father, has a great kingdom, has great power, and has great glory. It must be great because it lasts forever and ever. Why is this such great news? Because God shares all of this with his children. That means us! We can share in his kingdom, his power, and his glory, if we pray a lot, forgive a lot, love a lot, and treat others like we want to be treated.
If Jesus were a Zen teacher what might he say? Click on Zen to find out.
The Lord’s Prayer is a short prayer but one that is layered with meaning. Read our free online book The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life to begin discovering the prayer’s hidden meanings. Click the following link to begin reading the Living Hour book now: The Lord’s Prayer.