Saturday, June 06, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers


Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches about prayer, using the Saviors prayers from the scriptures for example and instruction.

The Lord’s Prayer is recorded twice in the New Testament and once in the Book of Mormon. It is also included in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, where clarification is provided by these two phrases:
  1. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” and
  2. “Suffer us not to be led into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
The clarification on forgiveness is supported by other statements of the Master. He said to His servants, “Inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.” In other words, if one is to be forgiven, one must first forgive. The clarification on temptation is helpful, for surely we would not be led into temptation by Deity. The Lord said, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.”
Though the four versions of the Lord’s Prayer are not identical, they all open with a salutation to “Our Father,” signifying a close relationship between God and His children. The phrase “hallowed be thy name” reflects the respect and worshipful attitude that we should feel as we pray. “Thy will be done” expresses a concept that we will discuss later.
His request for “daily bread” includes a need for spiritual nourishment as well. Jesus, who called Himself “the bread of life,” gave a promise: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger.” And as we partake of sacramental emblems worthily, we are further promised that we may always have His Spirit to be with us. That is spiritual sustenance that cannot be obtained in any other way.
As the Lord closes His prayer, He acknowledges God’s great power and glory, ending with “Amen.” Our prayers also close with amen. Though it is pronounced differently in various languages, its meaning is the same. It means “truly” or “verily.”12 Adding amen solemnly affirms a sermon or a prayer. Those who concur should each add an audible amen to signify “that is my solemn declaration too.”
The Lord prefaced His prayer by first asking His followers to avoid “vain repetitions” and to pray “after this manner.” Thus, the Lord’s Prayer serves as a pattern to follow and not as a piece to memorize and recite repetitively. The Master simply wants us to pray for God’s help while we strive constantly to resist evil and live righteously.

2 comments:

a little music said...

One of the things I love about forgiveness is that it is personal. I was just discussing this with one of my children today. It is between us and the Lord. The Lord is always forgiving of us, but it is for us to forgive and to decide to forgive ourselves. The frustrating thing is when others try to determine for us whether or not we have adequately forgiven or just how we should forgive. That is also between us and the Lord.

Jim Cobabe said...

Music,

More insight on this in lesson 34 of the Joseph Smith manual. We studied this lesson this week in our elders quorum meeting. Joseph Smith was an advocate of unconditional forgiveness to others, apparently. See what you make of it. Online copy at lds.org if you don't have it handy.