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Bible Independent Study Module No. 17

   "The Bible has been given to the Western World by the Recording Angels, who give to each and all exactly what they need for their development."
— Max Heindel

The Lord's Prayer

  References: Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4; Acts 6:4; 12-5; Romans 12:12; James 5:16.

  Prayer may be said to be an opening up of a channel along which the divine Life and Light may flow into the Spirit, in the same way that the turning of a switch opens the way for the electric current to flow from the power-house into our house. Faith in Prayer is like the energy which turns the switch. Without muscular force we cannot turn the switch to obtain physical light, and without faith we cannot pray in such a manner as to secure spiritual illumination. If we pray for worldly ends, for that which is contrary to the law of love and universal good, our prayers will prove as unavailing as a glass switch in an electric circuit. Glass is a non-conductor, a bar to electric power, and selfish prayers are, likewise bars to divine purposes and must therefore remain unanswered. To pray to a purpose we must pray aright, and in the Lord's Prayer we have a most wonderful pattern, for it caters to the needs of man as no other formula could do. Within a few short sentences it encompasses all the complexities of the relationship of God to man.

  To understand this sublime Prayer properly and be able to render it understandingly and efficiently, let us recall that:

  The Father is the highest Initiate of the Saturn Period.

  The Son is the highest Initiate of the Sun Period.

  The Holy Spirit is the highest Initiate of the Moon Period.

  The Divine Spirit and the dense body of man started their evolution in the Saturn Period and are therefore under the special care of the Father.

  The Life Spirit and the vital body started their evolution in the Sun Period and are consequently the particular charges of the Son.

  The Human Spirit and the desire body commenced to evolve in the Moon Period and are therefore the special wards of the Holy Spirit.

  The Mind was added in the Earth Period and is not cared for by other outside beings, but is to be subdued by man himself, without any outside assistance.

  In the Lord's Prayer there are seven prayers; or, rather, there are three sets of two prayers and one single supplication. Each of the three sets has reference to the needs of one of the aspects of the threefold Spirit and its counterpart in the threefold body. The opening sentence, Our Father Who art in Heaven, is merely as the address upon an envelope. The student is referred to Diagram 16 on page 465 of The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception for a key to this prayer, showing diagrammatically the relation between the Trinity, the threefold Spirit, the threefold body and the Mind, each aspect of the Spirit being connected by a line with the prayer specifically suited to its counterpart in the threefold body and addressed to its guardian aspect in the Trinity.

  The Human Spirit lifts itself upon the wings of devotion to its parent aspect in the Holy Trinity and intones the opening incantation, "Hallowed be Thy Name."

  The Life Spirit raises itself upon pinions of love and addresses the fount of its being, The Son, "Thy Kingdom come."

  The Divine Spirit soars with superior insight to the fountain head, The Father, whence it sprang at the dawn of time, and manifests its confidence in that all-embracing Intelligence in the words, "Thy Will be done."

  Having thus reached the Throne of Grace, the threefold Spirit in man prefers its requests concerning the personality, the threefold body.

  The Divine Spirit prays to the Father for its counterpart, the dense body, "Give us our daily bread." The Life Spirit prays to The Son for its counterpart, the vital body, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

  The Human Spirit utters the supplication for the desire body in the words, "Lead us not into temptation."

  Then all join in a concerted appeal concerning the Mind, "Deliver us from evil."

  The addition, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever, Amen," was not given by Christ, but is very appropriate as the parting adoration of the threefold Spirit as it closes its direct address to the Diety.

  Looking at the foregoing explanation from the analytical standpoint, we find that there are three religious teachings to be given to man in helping him to attain to perfection. One is the Religion of The Holy Spirit; the next is the Religion of The Son; and the last is the Religion of The Father.

  Under the regime of the Holy Spirit the human race was divided into nations and peoples segregated by their adherence to one group from fellowship with other nations. Each group was further cut off from the rest because of speaking another language. They were all put under certain laws and were taught to reverence the name of their God. One people worshipped his as Iao, another as Tao, others as Bel. Everywhere the name of the Lawgiver was holy. The method of segregation had the advantage that the Race-Spirit in chief, Jehovah, could use one people to punish another who had transgressed his law, but it has the disadvantage that it fosters egotism and separates humanity in a manner detrimental to universal good. It is an axiomatic truth that what does not benefit all cannot really benefit any. Therefore, ways and means must be found to reunite the scattered nations and weld them into one universal Brotherhood. That is to be the work of the Religion of The Son — Christianity. The warring of nations is fostered by the Race-Spirit, but the Christian Religion will eventually unite them, cause them to beat their swords into ploughshares and bring peace and good will on earth when the Kingdom of The Son has superseded the tribes and races. Then a still higher religious teaching, the religion of The Father, is to unite mankind still closer. In the Kingdom of the Son there will be a universal Brotherhood of separate individuals having varying interests, but ready to give and take through love, sinking individual preferences for the common good, but when the religion of The Father becomes a fact in life, the self will be entirely submerged in a common purpose, a single will. The Will of God will then be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, where there is neither me or thee, but where God is All and in All.

  In the meantime a certain work has to be performed by the threefold Spirit upon the threefold body, to spiritualize it and extract the threefold soul.

  The dense body is but an irresponsible tool, but nevertheless, it is a most valuable instrument, to be cared for and prized as a mechanic cares for and prizes a valuable tool. We hold firmly before our mental vision that we are not the body, any more than the mechanic is identical with his tools, or the carpenter is the house. That is plainly evident when we consider that our body is a constantly changing aggregation of cells, while we keep our "I"-dentity amid and despite all changes which would be impossible if we were identical with our dense body. That body is to be valued and cared for. "Give us our daily bread," says the fourth Prayer. Most people eat too much, and for them an occasional fast may be good, but fasting is unnecessary for those who do not feast, but live the simple life from day to day. When the body is overfed, the Spirit may be ever so willing, but the flesh will be correspondingly weak. Therefore, when a young Spirit gains ascendancy, it seeks to overcome the lower nature by fasting, tortures, etc., as best exemplified in Hindu Yogis who emaciate the body, causing the limbs to wither, etc., that the Spirit may shine.

  That is a mistake as much subversive of true Spiritual growth as is the habit of overeating. As said, where a man can control his appetite and feed his body on pure food he need not fast, but may give to his body its daily bread.

  The vital body being the storehouse of the panorama of our life, our own sins and the wrong we have suffered at the hands of others are there inscribed, hence the fifth Prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us," enunciated the needs of the vital body and be it noted that this Prayer teaches the doctrine of the remission of sins, in the words, forgive us, and the Law of Consequence in the words, as we forgive, making our attitude to others the measure of our emancipation

  "Lead us not into temptation," is the Prayer for the desire body which is the storehouse of energy, and furnishes incentive to action through desire. An Eastern maxim says, "Kill out desire." "Kill out your temper" is the foolish admonition sometimes given those who lose their temper. Desire or temper is a valuable asset, too valuable to be stunted or killed; the man without desire is like the steel devoid of temper — of no account. In Revelation, while the six churches are praised, the seventh is utterly anathematized for being "Neither hot nor cold," a wishy-washy community. "The greater the sinner, the greater the saint," is a true adage, for it takes energy to sin and when that energy is turned in the right direction, it is as much of a power for good as previously it was for evil. A man may be good because he cannot summon up sufficient energy to be bad: then he is so good that he is good for nothing. While we are weak our desire nature masters us and may lead us into temptation, but as we learn to control our desire nature, our temper may guide in harmony with the laws of God and man.

  Desire is the great tempter of mankind. It is the great incentive to all action, and insofar as the actions subserve the purposes of the Spirit, it is good; but where the desire is for something degrading, something that debases the nature, it is indeed proper that we pray not to be led into temptation.

  Love, Wealth, Power, and Fame! These are the four great motives of human action. Desire for one or more of these is the motive for all that man does or leaves undone. The great Leaders of Humanity have wisely given them as incentives to action, that man may gain experience and learn thereby. They are necessary, and the aspirant may safely continue to use them as motives for action, but he must transmute them into something higher. He must overcome with nobler aspirations the selfish love which seeks the ownership of another body, and all desires for wealth, power, and fame for narrow and personal reasons.

  The Love for which he must long is that only which is of the soul and embraces all beings, high and low, increasing in proportion to the needs of the recipient:

  The Wealth, that which consists solely of abundance of opportunities to serve his fellow men;

  The Power, that alone which makes for the upliftment of humanity;

  The Fame, none save that which increases his ability to spread the good news, that all who suffer may thus quickly find solace for the heart's grief.

  The guiding power which directs this energy of the desire nature is the Mind, hence the seventh Prayer, "Deliver us from evil," is made with regard to the mind.

  The animals follow desire blindly and commit no sin. To them there is no evil; that only comes to our cognition by and through the discriminating mind which enables man to see various courses of action and to choose. If he chooses to act in harmony with universal good, he cultivates virtue; if the contrary, he becomes tainted with vice. It should be noted that the much vaunted "innocence" of a child is not by any means virtue. The child has not yet been tempted and tried, therefore it is innocent. In time, temptations from the desire nature will come to test its courage and it depends upon the control of the mind over desire whether it will stand for the right or fall by the wayside. If the mind is strong enough to "deliver us from evil" desires, we have become virtuous, which is a positive quality, and even if we fall for a time before we realize our wrong, we acquire virtue as soon as we repent and reform.

  Thus does the Lord's Prayer cover the various parts of the human constitution and enunciate the need for them all, showing the marvelous wisdom laid down in that simple formula.


  (You are welcome to e-mail your answers and/or comments to us. Please be sure to include the Independent Study Course name and Module number in your e-mail to us. Or, you are also welcome to use the answer form below.)

1. What is Prayer? Why is faith important in Prayer?
2. To what does each of the three sets of two prayers in the Lord's Prayer have reference?
3. Analyze the Prayer, giving passages and meanings.
4. What three religions are to be given man in helping him to attain perfection?
5. State the cardinal points in each.
6. What is the correct teaching in regard to desire?
7. How may we exchange the negative quality of innocence for the positive quality of virtue?

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