Thursday, September 9, 2010

3 Nephi - Chapter 13

 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  10 Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  11 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 12 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  13 For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
The other day at the Detention Center, a boy who normally gives heart-felt, from-the-heart prayers, chose to repeat the Lord's prayer instead.  I was a bit startled at first, but the depth of his sincerity, as he recited those words, struck me deeply.  It was a twelve step addiction recovery meeting.  We had been talking about turning our lives over to God as a means of accomplishing what we cannot do for ourselves.

With that in mind, the Lord's prayer was especially meaningful for me.  We had been talking about surrendering our will to that of the Lord.  Here the Savior makes that His first statement after acknowledging the Father's divinity.  As with His life, His prayer was a declaration of determination to surrender to the will of the Father.

Here, Jesus is telling us how to pray.  In His own personal prayers, He did not need forgiveness.  He was not in the business of getting out of debts incurred, He came to pay them, for us.

The plea, "...deliver us from evil" is especially poignant for me.  Having spent my life attempting to deliver myself only to discover that none by God can deliver me; I wonder why it took me so long to come to that awareness.  Back before prayer was banned at school, we always had an opening prayer in my elementary school classes.  Most of those prayers were typical of Latter-day Saint children.  Occasionally though, a child from some other faith would repeat The Lord's Prayer.  In my sanctimonious disregard for all things different from myself, I fear I also disregarded the words of this most perfect prayer.  Had I only listened and the also, personally, prayed, then, for deliverance, I might not have endured so many years of bondage to sin.

Now, having been delivered and having it done for me and not by me, I too must acknowledge that none of the glory for that blessed success belongs to anyone but God.

There is another important word in the prayer - us.  We are all in the same boat.  We all need deliverance.  The Atonement applies to each of us.  The prayer admonishes us and seeks the blessing to be able to forgive one another, even if we are the recipient of another's offense.  We all come short of the glory of God.  We all have the same requirements at His hand, forgiveness and deliverance.

No comments: