We are often reminded this time of year, and rightfully so, that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." I can think of no better way to celebrate what Jesus gave to us than to renew our appreciation for his most amazing gift, The Lord's Prayer. In the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus is asked by one of his disciples, "Lord, teach us to pray." He responds very specifically, with the Lord's Prayer. He also teaches this prayer as a component of the Sermon on the Mount. Thus we see in scripture that when Jesus teaches us to pray it is always with these words.
The prayer is perfect. It is our greatest spiritual gift, from the Great Spiritual Giver.
When I set out to write a book about the power of the Lord's Prayer, I was stunned to discover that there were very few published works that dealt with it in any depth. Nearly one third of the planet's population recites this prayer -- over two billion people -- and yet there were essentially no books about it.
The time had come! What I have been asked most often since writing The Source of Miracles: Seven Powerful Steps to Transforming Your Life Through the Lord's Prayer is: why did I feel the need to write it and why now? What is it about the Lord's Prayer that is so important for us to examine anew as we make our journey into the new world of the 21st Century?
The simple answer is that using this prayer in a specific practice has transformed my life and I have witnessed it as the source of extraordinary miracles, not just for myself, but for countless others. I know it can change lives, and maybe even the world, for the better. Therefore I equally knew that I had an obligation to share this prayer practice with as many people as possible -- and fast. The world is at critical mass, people need hope to go forward, and this prayer can and will bring them that -- and more. Everything we need for personal transformation is included in just over fifty words that most of us already know by heart, but many of us have forgotten how to use effectively.
In my own journey as a writer and researcher, I came across an amazing prayer practice that was taught by a Christian sect in France during the Middle Ages. For these medieval Christians, the Lord's Prayer was not only the cornerstone of their faith, it was the guidebook to living a perfect life. They understood that every word of the prayer was carefully considered by Jesus, and given to us as a loving and careful instruction for building our faith while living a joyous life through God. I began to work through this prayer as a spiritual practice in the medieval manner, which breaks the prayer down into seven lessons about life: Faith, Surrender, Service, Abundance, Forgiveness, Overcoming and Love. The results were astounding and immediate. My faith was strengthened and my life transformed in ways I could never have imagined prior to learning how to live through this prayer.
The Lord's Prayer is now, as it was when Jesus lived, the incorruptible formula for personal and global transformation.
While most of us can rattle off this greatest of prayers, many of us have forgotten the extraordinary power and meaning behind the words, if we ever thought about them to begin with. I learned the Lord's Prayer when I was three years old, in pre-school, many years before I would ever know what words like hallowed, trespasses or temptation meant. Like most children, we were taught to speak it on cue, like obedient little parrots who could make the appropriate sounds come out after endless repetitions, but had no ability to understand the somewhat exotic sounding syllables.
I can assure you that we were not taught the origins of the prayer as children, and even if someone had tried to explain it to us, we were far too young to understand it as a dynamic spiritual practice and a fool-proof recipe for creating a joyous and fulfilled life.
So many of us grow up never knowing that, with the Lord's Prayer, Jesus was giving us the formula for manifesting miracles; not only when we most need them, but on a very regular basis. It was his gift to us, and one that we can reclaim for ourselves and our loved ones this holiday season. We can create our own miracles in this season which is dedicated to them. It is literally the gift that keeps on giving!
The Lord's Prayer addresses the issues that hurt us, confound us, and impede our progress, and illuminates the way in which we can overcome these obstacles. The prayer is our guide to purifying our spirit of anything that troubles it and holds us back from functioning at our highest potential, a potential that leads directly to happiness and abundance. Using this prayer regularly as a spiritual practice creates real and lasting change at the soul level, change which becomes manifest in very earthly, visible ways.
When spoken with faith and intention, these are literally magic words.
I believe that if you study and hold tight to the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, a handful of parables, and what Jesus tells us in Matthew 22, verses 37-39 -- love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and love thy neighbor as thyself -- then you pretty much have everything you need to live a perfect life and encourage peace on earth. But foremost of these gifts, the center from which all blessings spring, is the Lord's Prayer. While the other elements teach us valuable spiritual lessons, this great prayer is the tool that connects us immediately and directly to the source that is within each of us: the source of faith, the source of love, the source of forgiveness. And, in combination, those things are the source of very real miracles.
My own life has been transformed dramatically by utilizing the Lord's Prayer as a regular spiritual practice. As a result, I have witnessed the most miraculous events, including wonders of life and death. My own life has been blessed with extraordinary abundance and joy, thanks to the gift of this prayer practice. I hope to share this joy with you through the great prayer that unifies us all and is available to everyone. Together, we really can create heaven on earth -- just the way Jesus taught us. Amen!
©2009 Kathleen McGowan, author of The Source of Miracles: 7 Steps to Transforming Your Life through the Lord's Prayer
Kathleen McGowan, author of The Source of Miracles: 7 Steps to Transforming Your Life through the Lord's Prayer, is an internationally published writer whose work has appeared on five continents and in at least fifteen languages. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three sons. Kathleen is a dedicated activist, and commits a portion of her time and royalties to causes that protect women and children from the horrors of human trafficking and sexual slavery. She has teamed with The Emancipation Network and Made by Survivors to fund and participate in programs which provide shelter and safety for victims of abuse, and raise awareness of this global epidemic.
For more information about the book, please visit www.KathleenMcGowan.com.