The Lord's Prayer

  • The Lord's Prayer

    Posted by Dan Slife on September 21, 2022 at 11:47 am

    Greetings, folks.

    Some time ago on the old forum I posted a brief suggestion that TMWT had opened up my understanding of the Lord’s prayer and that I would post about it later. So, here’s my belated follow-through.

    All the caveats about language reducing meaning, of losing the very subject you’re trying to discuss when that subject is ineffable…. etc.

    Have just typed it out for the first time, I suppose it’s simply a meditation on the Lord’s Prayer.

    I don’t claim to be a theologian, and recognize I’m quite likely dicing and mixing contested categories in a punk rock, DIY way.

    If it is helpful in any way to anyone, I’m glad.


    Our Father who art in heaven,

    [The panentheistic animating creator, who dwells in the mystery beyond and mystery within. Heaven as the mystery which stretches from the exuberant present of creation to the unknowable boundlessness of God]

    hallowed be thy name.

    [The ineffable and unnamable source of all that was, is and will be created, The animating spirit that dwells within the very heart of every manifestation, including the heart of humankind. The unnamable mystery within us and in the darkness that surrounds us.]

    They kingdom come.

    [The kingdom of creation, ever-presenting itself anew. The dominion of God etched in all that is, was and will be.]

    Thy will be done

    [The exuberant unfolding of diverse worlds, in reverence. Worlds and their occupants being what they are made to be, discovering and shaping the gift of manifestation in reverence to the Father.]

    on earth as it is in heaven.

    [That earth is but a microcosm of God’s Heaven, which stretches from the center of all things to the inconceivable darkness that surrounds and contains creation. Where God’s will shall be done and at the end of the day, or a civilization, ‘God shall not be mocked’.]

    Give us this day our daily bread,

    [Let this majesty of God’s evolving creation in the here and now feed us. Let each day, which marks a literal and potential passage from darkness to light, from sleep to wakefulness, from ignorance to wisdom, become this food which sustains us because “man cannot live on bread alone.” That we may read and so feed our hunger for wisdom in the book of Nature, which is to say our immediate relationship to creation.]

    and forgive us our trespasses,

    [Forgive us when we do not see the majesty of creation, when we fail to recognize the spirit of the Father within us and around all that is, was, and will be. For in this failure to see, we act against creation, mistake ourselves for masters and treat what is miraculous and beautiful as banal and subservient.]

    as we forgive those who trespass against us,

    [Likewise forgive those whose failure to see the majesty of creation, who fail to recognize the spirit of the Father within us and around all that is, leads them to treat us, our kin and our world as objects without purpose, inherent value, and the God-given sovereignty to become what we are.]

    and lead us not into temptation,

    [Lead us toward reverence for creation and away from the door to meaninglessness and banality.]

    <i style=”background-color: var(–bb-content-background-color); font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”>but deliver us from evil.

    [Deliver us from they way of life beyond the threshold of meaninglessness and banality, where justifications for evil, life against creation, dwell]

    For the kingdom and the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.

    Dan Slife replied 1 year, 8 months ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Mary Attwood

    September 26, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    Hi Dan, Thank you for posting this – may I ask if this is something you spent a while meditating on or did it come to you in an aha! moment?


    • Don Salmon

      September 26, 2022 at 5:01 pm

      Hey Dan, quite beautiful. I’m all for lots of words as poetry for evoking the sacred and sublime.

      At the risk of terribly oversimplifying, it seems to me what you’re doing is inviting us to the experience of God (a RH vs LH shift) in and as all things; what St Paul referred to as recognizing God as that “in which we live and move and have our being.”

      What you’re doing also reminds me of lectio Divina, or “Divine reading,” inviting us to contemplate the text not so much to understand it intellectually but to read it as a way of diving into and dwelling more deeply into the Divine presence.

      On the other hand, no words is good too. I attended the first ever “Centering Prayer” mass back in 1981 at a small church on the southern edge of Manhattan (NYC). Basil Pennington, one of the leaders of the contemplative Christian movement at the time, celebrated the mass.

      After the opening songs and prayers, he stepped up to give his homily, but instead of speaking, he sat in silence for 20 minutes.

      And then he spoke the Our Father:

      I remember, hearing the “Our………Father…..” i felt I had never truly heard the Lord’s Prayer until that moment, every word, every syllable informed by that 20 minutes of deeply contemplative Silence.

      • Dan Slife

        September 26, 2022 at 7:36 pm

        Hi Don,

        Yes, I think so. It was seeking something I had always taken as an inaccessible abstraction, and seeing in it a living breathing newness in the moment.

        Thank you for sharing the story of unexpected silence. That gets at part of the experience I had: that the trees were speaking, that the ground was speaking, that an ancient presence is always speaking a mysterious language, and its heard only when the monkey mind is willed into silence.



    • Dan Slife

      September 26, 2022 at 7:33 pm

      Hi Mary. It came to me in an aha moment, which was much more magical than it’s reduction to words!

      Back when I started reading TMWT last fall, it struck me that, being sedentary, I must start walking every morning. So, just like that, I started going for daily walks of a few miles. It was on one of these walks that I discovered a little hidden forest connected to a pocket park. I began wandering into this forest and meditating each morning when I had time.

      It was in this little forest that I started praying the Lord’s prayer each morning as the sun came up through the bare branches. And one day this experience of it came over me.

      In all honesty, it wasn’t a great leap from TMWT, but the newness with which I felt/experienced these old words, worn into my head. It was like I for the first time glimpsed an inside experience of this prayer. The first time it was attesting to the present, something tangible and ineffable at the same time, rather than the inaccessible after and beyond I thought it had solely represented.

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