I’ve been attending Unity Church Naples, Florida, for over a year.
Religious upbringing = strict Boston Irish-Catholic including 12 years of Catholic school.
I like to pray. A friend helped me realize that it’s like a reset button for me. If something’s wrong, I say a prayer and trust things will get better. When I’m overwhelmed with happiness or gratitude, I pray to keep the good Karma coming my way.
But most of the prayers I grew up on are meaningless to me or very negative. I find most of the Lord’s Prayer to be meaningless. When we sing it in church each week, I sing my own version to myself. In my version, I celebrate the daily bread and forgiving others, but I also celebrate the Christ within me, my experiences that have made me compassionate towards others, and my experiencing heaven on earth by realizing the Christ in others. I would like to be able to embrace the Lord’s Prayer (we say it each week!), but hallowed ... and kingdom, power, glory ... are a turn off. Thank you.
It is difficult to encompass in one brief response the whole of the Lord’s Prayer. You are certainly not alone in believing that it is basically incompatible with Unity beliefs—a remnant of an earlier understanding. I don’t think that’s true. As with all of our appreciation of the power of the Bible, we have to approach it with fresh eyes and an open heart. If it was important to Jesus—and Jesus is the guide, way shower and perfect example of the Christ expression we are striving to be—then there may well be something powerful and important there for us. And, indeed, I believe there is. The Lord’s Prayer, first of all, is not a form of pleading or beseeching addressed to a distant God. It is a clear and simple affirmative prayer, in perfect and powerful alignment with Unity principles about the nature of God, our relationship to God, and the creative spiritual work that is ours to do.
“Our Father which art in heaven.” This is an immediate and radical restatement of our relationship to God—not as a distant, awesome Power to be approached in fear and trembling, like Dorothy and friends standing before the image of the Wizard, but rather abba, "poppa"—intimate and familiar (except that in Aramaic, the reference is neither male nor female). Vibrationally it connects us to the creative energy of all the universe. And that energy is within us—as Jesus tells us it is elsewhere in his teachings—existing in us as divine potential.
“Hallowed be thy name.” The vibrational energy of the name for God is sacred. It vibrates within us in the “sacred place of the most high.” We “hallow” that name by allowing its vibration to define our very being—and by seeing ourselves as temples of God ’s energy.
“Thy kingdom come.” In Aramaic this phrase is teytey malkuthakh. Teytey describes a bridal chamber, site of union and fertility. Malkuthakh comes from an ancient name for "Divine Mother"; it refers to a womb. The overall image in Aramaic is that we nurture and give birth to the kingdom of God within us.
“Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” God perfectly expresses in that sacred womb within me. With this affirmation, I choose to let the inner possibility and the outer manifestation be the same. In Aramaic the word translated as “will” more accurately means “heart’s desire.” Again we are agreeing to—and taking responsibility for—a creative, intimate union with God.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” This is the first actual prayer request in the prayer—we here shift our focus from God to self. It completes a kind of contract: I will birth your heaven and you will see to my needs. Lachma in Aramaic is both “bread” and “understanding.”
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” The Aramaic word means “failures,” “mistakes,” as well as “secret debts.” The tense is important: we must have forgiven others before we can claim our own forgiveness.
“And leave us not in temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I think this is the clearest rendering of a line that doesn’t really make sense in the traditional English translation ("lead us not into temptation"). It is absurd to think that God might lead us into temptation. The Aramaic phrase is “don’t let us remain in” temptation. And the word for temptation means "unripeness."
“For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” This, of course, may not be original—it isn’t in earliest translations—but it does follow accepted Jewish form in closing a prayer. The Aramaic might more accurately be translated as “Through you the kingdom, through you the energy of life, through you the harmony of all things.” This only touches lightly on the metaphysical depths suggested by this deceptively familiar prayer. I would suggest Prayer of the Cosmos by Neal Douglas Klotz—and perhaps, immodestly, my own book The Secret According to Jesus—if you want to delve a little deeper.