“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…” We pray that all the time, if we’re believing Christians. It’s part of the “Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father,” as we Catholics refer to the prayer. It’s vitally important because these are Jesus’ words to His disciples in response to their request that Jesus, “teach us how to pray.”
He also admonishes them not to go on and on with lots of extraneous words. A lot of us who pray extemporaneously could learn from that directive. Too often we try to give God very detailed directions on what He needs to do to take care of our requests to Him. But that’s silly. God knows what we need before we ask. He knows the desires of our hearts.
What we really need to do is say, “Lord, you know what I need and what I want. But I do NOT know what is best for me or my loved ones. So, I leave it in your hands. Not MY will, but Yours be done.” Amen. Yup! That’s what I often pray or words to that effect. I also pray for spiritual and physical protection for those I love. Yes, I know God knows that I deeply desire that more than anything, but I tell Him anyway because, as a child of God, our Daddy wants to hear from us. So, I tell Him my fears, and my frustration, and my anger. As well I share with Him my joy and my gratitude. I try to do the latter every day.
I also try to praise God often, but I don’t as often as I should. Ultimately, though, as we see in the Our Father, all we need to say is there. First of all, Jesus calls God His Father so that’s what I do. I realize that God does not really have a gender because He is not a physical being. But if it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.
Then Jesus says, “Who art in Heaven,” to remind us where God wants us to be one day, and how expansive He is. It also is a way to remember that God is God and I am not!
“Hallowed be Thy name” means “Your name is Holy and I should always remember that!” And I should worship and adore and praise Your Holy Name because of Who You are.
“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” should always be said as one sentence. This is where we re-affirm that the Kingdom of God is among us, as Jesus said in Scripture, and that the Kingdom is also Heaven. And so we should align our wills with God here, just as our wills will be aligned with God’s in eternity. Not my will, but Yours be done. Jesus says it again in the Garden at Gethsemane. He tells God His desire (what He wants) and His fears, but He concludes with “Thy will be done.”
“Give us this day our daily bread” is just a way of saying that we ask for another day to live and another day for our basic needs to be met. So many are poor and hungry and alone. These words should remind us of that and prompt us to help others who lack the basics of life and to be grateful for the fact that our basic needs are being met and then some.
“Forgive us our trespasses” obviously is a plea for forgiveness, but there’s the rub! For our sins can only be forgiven “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Forgive, be merciful, just as our Heavenly Father is merciful. (See the parable of the prodigal son for the perfect example of a merciful dad.) We want forgiveness but can only truly appreciate being forgiven if we have been the one to forgive and to see the relief and gratitude in the eyes and hear them in the voice of the person we’ve forgiven.
And that mercy comes from unconditional love, of course. To quote 1 John, “God is love” so of course we receive Divine Mercy from He who is Love. And so should pass that on to our brothers and sisters.
“Lead us not into temptation” is a ‘puzzlement.’ Would God lead us into temptation? Well, another translation is “put us not to the test.” In that same Garden of Gethsemane – before Jesus pleads with His Father to let this cup pass, but not His will, but the Father’s will be done – Jesus tells Peter, John, and James to wait with Him and to “pray not to be put to the test.” Well, it seems none of them (except John) uttered that prayer before the Roman Soldiers came to arrest Jesus because all of the Apostles fled when Jesus was arrested, tortured, and crucified. (Except John who we view at the foot of the cross before Jesus expires and hands His mother into John’s care, making him her son and all of us her children, too.) So, it appears that, if God does not bring us to the Test, He certainly will not keep us from being tempted if we are not asking for that assistance. So, “Lead us not into temptation” is like saying, “Pray not to be put to the test,” or perhaps, “pray to pass the test!” God can give us the strength to resist, to be bold. It will be His strength flowing from His grace that gives us the ability.
“But deliver us from evil” is not unlike me praying for the spiritual and physical protection of myself and loved ones. So that makes perfect sense to me.
In my faith, the prayer ends here, although at Mass we do continue – after a small prayer from the presider asking for that protection from evil and deliverance from “all anxiety,” which is an awesome prayer – praising God with “For Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory now and forever. Amen.” Other Christians include that in their Lord’s Prayer. I learned that the reason Catholics don’t is because there is not a certainty that the last portion was actually expressed by Jesus in answer to the request for Him to teach us how to pray. It is in Scripture, though, so it was added into the Liturgy (where we worship and praise God during the Eucharistic Mass), though not part of our personal prayer.
So, ultimately it is all about praising our Creator and remembering that He has a plan that is perfect and with the long range, let’s say eternal, well being of the creatures He loves so very much, more than we can ever imagine and for each of us as if there were only one of us.
And Jesus wants each of us to remember to align our will to God’s will. We can never go wrong when we do so. See my statement above about God’s concern for our eternal well-being. God wants us to be with Him in the Kingdom. Oh, God is with us now, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But it will be so much more when we are in the Heavenly Kingdom.
We can discuss when bad things happen to good people, or even to bad people, in a future DIL post. For now, just pray to God using the words of the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer or use your own words that will say pretty much the same thing. But let’s remember to really TALK to God. He wants to hear from us. He will respond. I like to say that when you ask God a question, expect an answer! He will. But you have to be listening. Pay attention to everything around you; what people are saying to you, what you’r reading, listening to, thinking about, and even that sense of Peace when you think about one answer or probable solution over another option. God will let you know.
He is speaking to us all the time. Look at a rose in a garden today, or gaze up at the sky, look at a baby, or look in the eyes of a stranger and smile. God is there. He’s sustaining it all because He made it all. God is there. To quote a line I sang once in the musical Godspell, expressing the words of Thomas Aquinas, God “is all things in all…He is often found in one thing small; conversely, He is often missed in many.” Try not to miss Him today! And let go of what control you think you have (we really don’t have any) and say, “Thy will be done!” It’s very liberating.