I have been thinking about the Lord’s Prayer recently. I noticed two things about it that bring hope.
This prayer is probably the second or third most popular of all English prayers. I would rank it below “Now I lay me down to sleep”, and don’t know how it compares to any common meal prayer. But this has the advantage of being Biblical – straight from the mouth of Jesus.
I have heard some people advocate against using red-letter editions of the Bible, based on their view that Jesus was just a man. I disagree. Jesus was fully man while He was on earth, and He was and is fully God. That’s somebody to pay attention to.
The prayer starts out “Our Father, who art in Heaven”. The prayer is addressed to God the Father. Jesus is telling us that our prayer, our talk with God, can reach from earth to Heaven. That is good. Having a disconnected God is not good or beneficial.
Is there a physical distance to Heaven? I don’t know. Descriptions of Hell sound like a real, physical place. If Hell exists, I have to think that Heaven also has a location. But I don’t think you can get in by flying there in your space ship and knocking on the front door.
So God the Father can be reached, says God the Son. But what about the other part of communication – the part from God to us? Good news. Jesus has that covered too. Later in the prayer Jesus says “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”. “Thy” refers to God the Father, whose will is supreme in Heaven.
Jesus knew that He wouldn’t be on earth (physically) for very long. He was telling this to both His disciples and His followers -those of us who have identified with Jesus Christ. This was not only for the first century AD, it is for now. It is for today and tomorrow, until Christ returns.
Somehow, then, God’s will must be known by us humans down here on earth. But how? A good start is reading the Bible. It is God’s word, recorded and preserved across centuries. Prayer, including the Lord’s Prayer, is also good. Surround yourself with good, caring, Christian people, the kind you find at most churches. And share the Good News of Jesus whenever appropriate. Take care of widows and orphans.
You will find that Heaven, regardless of physical distance, is very close spirituality.