Friday, April 14, 2006

I believe that Prayer is Universal...
The Language of the heart never varies...

Our Father

By this, we acknowledge that God is one, and he is above us all. We also understand that we spring from him, hence we address him as Father. This also brings us closer to him, as we now look to him as our parent, and we can have our inner dialogues with him for our answers. Even Guru Nanak, in the Japji prayer, refers to Ek Onkar, which means one God.

Who art in heaven

We understand he is in a realm which is currently beyond us, but for which we all strive to be in. Heaven is always referred to a place of joy , tranquility and bliss

Hallowed be thy name

By hallowed, we state that his name is sacred. His name is special. As Guru Nanak says in the Japji, Satnam, which means the true name. Here, we can even say that the name can be Om. What is important to understand is that God's name is sacred.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,On Earth, as it is Heaven.

We acknowledge that all is His, in expressing that it is His kingdom, and that all happens as per His wishes (will), both here and in Heaven. This is similar Spiritual beliefs that all is God's doing.

Give us this day our daily bread

Here, we ask God for his blessings and grace.
And forgive us of our trespasses,As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Here we ask God for forgiveness for all the wrong that we do. In this, we see that law of giving and receiving, for if we cannot learn how to forgive others, how can we get the forgiveness from God. As God forgives us, we must also forgive all those who have hurt us, in any way, irrespective of what we feel for them. In the Quran, the prophet says "Forgive your servant 70 times a day". Only by forgiveness, can we let the love of the Lord flow through us.

And lead us not into temptation,

This tells us that God is testing us, making us face challenges, so as to make us better people. We ask him to help us succeed in our challenges, and not "fall into temptation" (to fail in the test). But the paradox here is that God also is the creator of temptations, so what does one do? The ultimate answer is to surrender all actions to the Lord, and he will do best for us.

But deliver us from evil

We acknowledge God to be the Protector and Defender of all that is good. We know he can, with his grace, put us on the right path to him.

For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory

We acknowledge that God is the universe, the energy (prana) and the beauty. By doing so, we realise that all is God, everything stems from him, and all ends with him. In Hinduism, we learn that all starts from God, and one day, all will end with Him.

For ever and ever

God is eternal, with no beginning and no end. This is the basic Hindu concept of the timelessness of God.


We end the prayer by saying a word symbolising God, be it Amen, Om, Allah, Krishna, etc. Here, it is the final acknowledgement that it is God, and only God.
This prayer can be applied to all, and does not necessarily have to be only a Christian prayer. God is one, and for all of us. In whatever form we call him or believe in him, as long as we follow his principles of love, compassion, devotion, service above self and forgiveness, we will always be in his Grace.

Written by - Suneel Utamchandani

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