Lord's Prayer

From Anthroposophy

The Lord's Prayer is the only prayer explicitly given by Christ Jesus to humanity, teaching us how to pray. It is unique also in the fact it as the most effective of prayers, it contains certain powers that make it an initiation prayer to develop spiritual faculties. It appears in the gospels of Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

It has seven petitions that correspond to the seven main bodily principles of Man, that mankind is developing in the current solar system evolution.

The fourth stage of the Earth corresponds to the fourth pivotal element of the I that gives self-consciousness. The principle that the Christ infused, pure love or budhi, is only for Mankind to develop fully on the planet Future Venus. However there will already be stages where this comes to the foreground, already on the next planetary stage of Future Jupiter, and even on Earth in the sixth epoch (after the 'war of all against all' that will conclude the fifth and Current Postatlantean epoch).

The guidelines in the Lord's Prayer pray to the divine spiritual realities and one's own higher self for the correct, appropriate, balanced, good development of all structural elements in our constitution, and it does this in the most simple form possible.

Aspects

  • the Lord's Prayer is not just a mantra, rather it is a 'thought mantra' that does not lose its power even when translated into a thousand languages (1907-02-17-GA097)
  • Everyone who prays the Lord's Prayer is affected by it, one does not need knowledge at all, however one who does will receive "an entirely different fruit" from it (1907-02-17-GA097)
  • in past and future
    • In the Atlantean Mysteries, the seven peti­tions of the Lord's Prayer were given to disciples in the form of a scale of seven tones, together with seven specific colors and fragrances, to experience the sevenfold essence of the human being (1907-02-17-GA097)
    • In future times to come, the highness of the Lord's prayer will cause people not to allow themselves to pray it fully in one day. Man will have such a huge imagination of the working together of the seven petitions, that one will not deem oneself worthy to unfold this prayer in one's heart every day (1912-06-12-GA244 - Q&A 232.3)
  • additional phrasings/versions by Rudolf Steiner and Daskalos: both prayed the Lord's Prayer daily and aloud.
  • other prayers by Christ-Jesus:
    • a prayer given by Christ-Jesus in the synagogue of the Essene brotherhood (as delivered by Daskalos)
    • the prayer given by Christ to the apostles after the resurrection (see 1916-01-02-GA165 below)
  • related prayers
    • the reverse prayer that Jesus heard at age of about 24 from Bath Kol, the spirit that had inspired Jewish prophets (1913-10-05-GA148)
    • see also the Good Prayer delivered by Beinsa Douno, see Beinsa Douno#Good Prayer
  • see also: the Sermon on the Mount

Inspirational quote

1912-06-12-GA244 - Q&A 232.3

The Lord's prayer is [the most effective of prayers] and most suited in the highest degree as a daily prayer to develop spiritual faculties. ... Times will come, when the highness of the Lord's prayer will cause people not to allow themselves to pray the whole Lord's Prayer in one day. Man will have such a huge imagination [and conscious awareness] of the working together of the seven petitions, that one will not deem oneself worthy to unfold this great initiation prayer in one's heart every day.

Illustrations

Schema FMC00.095 below links the seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer to the seven principles of Man and the 'higher self' (triangle) and 'lower self', with short keywords of spiritual scientific concepts and meaning linked to each phrase. On the right the symbol of the rose cross. The Rosecrucian symbol shows the seven principles as roses (future evolution) arising against the background carrier of the black wooden cross (representing the dying).

FMC00.095.jpg

Lecture coverage and references

Overview coverage

There are four key lectures dedicated to the Lord's prayer:

  • [1] - 1907-01-28-GA096 - 'The Lord's Prayer, an esoteric study', Part I
  • [2] - 1907-02-04-GA097
  • [3] - 1907-02-18-GA096 - 'The Lord's Prayer, an esoteric study', Part II
  • [4] - 1907-03-06-GA097

Note: the booklet: 'The Lord's prayer : an esoteric study' in EN, or in DE: 'Das Vaterunser : eine esoterische Betrachtung' by Rudolf Steiner was previously published separately, but now [1] and [3] are part of GA096.

Reference extracts

1904-10-20-GA053

SWCC

Prayer has been present throughout evolution. For the early Chris­tians, it signified something more than simply a means of uniting human beings with their God. It is precisely the mood that Tolstoy depicted as the mood of the human soul, feeling himself quite imbued with it, that should be invoked by Christians through prayer. The loftier the things a person prays for, the better it is. Praying for outer things is foreign to the sense of original Christianity: "Father, not my will but your will be done."

What is the Father's will in the original Christian sense? It is the will that represents the primal law governing all of cosmic evolution. I want all my successes and wishes to be so perfect that they corre­spond to the sense of the Father's will, that is, to the spiritual law of the cosmos; I want them not to deviate from this great spiritual law. If I aspire to some arbitrary request when I pray, to something that springs from my everyday nature, from personal preference, I am not praying in the sense of "not my will, but your will be done."

We pray in this sense, however, when our intent is not to pull down to us what we are praying for or to have our own will prevail, but when we and our will are lifted up, striving to become divine, for our soul's resur­rection in the divine, in the Christ element.

Since the intent of spiritual science is to understand all religious creeds, it can agree with that. People can come into conflict with spiritual science only by not understanding their own religion. Anyone familiar with the methods of Christianity, and prayer is one of its methods, since it is a means of uniting with the divine universal soul, knows that there is no contradiction between prayer and spiritual science.

1906-09-02-GA095

The primal Christian prayer is:

"Lord, let this cup pass from me; nev­ertheless, not my will but your will be done."

One should not pray in an egoistic way. Prayer should be a lifting of oneself into the spiritual world, a source of force and strength.

1907-01-28-GA096 = [1]
1907-02-04-GA097 = [2]

1907-02-17-GA097

The Lord's Prayer in its original language and as a thought mantra.

We find the basic spiritual scientific concepts in all religious formulas and confessions, just as we do in the Lord's Prayer.

...

during the Atlantean age, astral bodies were always the same, and one could bring to all people one primal wisdom.

After the great flood had passed over Atlantean humanity, a unified wisdom was no longer possible. One had to teach in India according to what the Indian body required, differently in Persia, differently in Egypt, differ­ently with the Greeks and Romans, and differently again with the ancient Germanic races. Nevertheless, within all true forms of reli­gion, the common element from which each had arisen continued to live. In Atlantis enlightenment meant imparting life, not teaching. The sign of the spiral awakened an immediate feeling sensation. Today feelings must first be awakened by thoughts.

The seven peti­tions of the Lord's Prayer were also once given in the form of a scale of seven tones, together with seven specific colors and fragrances. In this way, disciples in Atlantis experienced the sevenfold essence of the human being.

Christ, the greatest of the religious teachers, poured this into the Lord's Prayer. Everyone who prays the Lord's Prayer is affected by it. It is not really a mantra, though it may have mantric powers. It is a "thought mantra."

Of course, its greatest power was in the original human language, but because it is precisely a thought mantra, it will not lose its power even when translated into a thousand languages.

We can digest food without knowing the laws of digestion; similarly, we have the fruit of the Lord's Prayer without knowledge. One who has the higher knowledge, however, will receive an entirely different fruit from it.

1907-02-18-GA096 = [3]

mentions

the Lord's Prayer will still have meaning when thousands and thousands of years will have passed

1907-03-06-GA097 = [4]

also covers the 'for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory', explained as three stages in the realm of the spirit and specifically related (editor interpretation) to the three stages of a) SoW, SoM and SoF, b) the Cherubim and Seraphim, and c) the Godhead itself.

Note that as per FMC00.093, Power-Kingdom-Glory are the esoteric christian terms for CoC-CoL-CoF.

1910-02-17-GA059

is on the nature of prayer

1912-06-12-GA244 - Q&A 232.3

The Lord's prayer is in most suited in the highest degree as a daily prayer to develop spiritual faculties. It is the most effective of prayers. The more respect and devotion one has for this prayer, the better for one's consciousness oul.

Even when Man prays and knows nothing of all this, still at the basis of this prayer lie powers that are the forces of origin of Man. The one who taught mankind this prayer knew these forces, and the person who uses this prayer can have these forces living in one's self unconsciously.

The more one enters in this prayer, the more the respect for it grows ever more.

Times will come, when the highness of the Lord's prayer will cause people not to allow themselves to pray the whole Lord's Prayer in one day. Man will have such a huge imagination [and conscious awareness] of the working together of the seven petitions, that one will not deem one's self worthy to unfold this great initiation prayer in one's heart every day.

1913-03-11-GA110 (tbc)

Prayer should be a bowing down of the soul before the divine spirituality that enlivens and pervades the cosmos.

Prayer, indeed, loses its meaning if it is egotistical. The only prayer that is justified is one that ends with the words of the archetypal prayer, "Not my will, but Your will be done."

This postscript gives the prayer the right atti­tude, and then it is a real prayer, if it is not egotistical.

Otherwise, practical contradictions would arise immediately. What is the granter of wishes supposed to do, for example, when some farmers prayer for dryness while others in the same area pray for rain so that their newly sown seeds will sprout? Or when two armies—who certainly both want to win—pray for victory?

Do not be egotistical in praying! The question as to whether wishes can be granted or not actually has no real meaning, because real prayer cannot expect that wishes will be granted. I know that this will offend many souls, but if you simply look into the nature of the thing itself, you will certainly find that this is how things really are.

1921-09-30-GA343A

the Lord's Gospel as a true exchange communicating with the divine

A version of The Lord's Prayer prayed by Rudolf Steiner

from 'The Christian Mystery':

Rudolf Steiner prayed the Lord's Prayer daily, upright, and aloud .. people reported that Steiner used to say the Lord's Prayer so loudly in his Berlin apartment that it could be understood in the neigh­boring room.

Ita Wegman states he even continued doing this whilst ill at the end of his life:

There were short periods of time when he got up twice a day; then again his strength left him to such an extent that she had to support him when he wanted to pray. He recited the Lord's Prayer in a loud voice, stand­ing upright, everyday, so that people passing by outside his studio heard him.

Several versions are known, ao two copies from Marie Steiner, another from Catholic priest Hugo Schuster. The version below is a version dated 1923 used with Ita Wegman whilst working on their book, Extending Practical Medicine.

Father, you who were, are, and will be in our inmost being,

May your name be glorified and praised in us.

May your kingdom grow in our deeds and inmost lives.

May we perform your will as you, Father, lay it down in our inmost being.

You give us spiritual nourishment, the bread of life, superabundantly in all the changing conditions of our lives.

Let our mercy toward others make up for the sins  done to our being.

You do not allow the tempter to work in us beyond the capacity of our strength.

For no temptation can live in your being, Father, and the tempter is only appearance and delusion, from which you lead us, Father. through the light of knowledge.

May your power and glory work in us through all periods and ages of time.

Amen.

same version with the seven statements numbered and central thematic keyword highlighed

Father, you who were, are, and will be in our inmost being,

[1] - May your name be glorified and praised in us.

[2] - May your kingdom grow in our deeds and inmost lives.

[3] - May we perform your will as you, Father, lay it down in our inmost being.

[4] - You give us spiritual nourishment, the bread of life, superabundantly in all the changing conditions of our lives.

[5] - Let our mercy toward others make up for the sins done to our being.

[6] - You do not allow the tempter to work in us beyond the capacity of our strength.

[7] For no temptation can live in your being, Father, and the tempter is only appearance and delusion, from which you lead us, Father. through the light of knowledge.

May your power and glory work in us through all periods and ages of time.

Daskalos

in 'The Esoteric Practice' - Christian meditations and exercises

After the Sermon on the Mount, Christ-Jesus [Joshua Emmanuel the Christ] was asked by a disciple: "in what way should we pray"? (re Matthew 6:9 and Luke 11:2). Then and on the other occasions, the God-Man gave us his prayer.

Our version of the Lord's prayer and the complete second stanza have been given to us by the spirit of John the Evangelist [Yohannan], an apostle of Christ-Jesus [Joshua].

Recitation of the Lord's Prayer, either silently or spoken aloud, is appropriate before beginning any sacred work.

and Daskalos' Lord's Prayer:

Our Father who art in heaven

Hallowed be thy name

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

and forgive us our transgressions, as we forgive those who transgress against us

And lead us while in temptation

and deliver us from evil

for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Absolute infinite beingness, God

Everlasting Life, Love and Mercy

manifesting yourself in yourself,

as the total wisdom and almightiness

Enlighten our minds to understand you as the truth

Clean our hearts to reflect your love towards you, and towards all other human beings.

Amen

same version with the seven statements numbered and central thematic keyword highlighed

Our Father who art in heaven

[1] - Hallowed be thy name

[2] - Thy kingdom come,

[3] - thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven

[4] - Give us this day our daily bread

[5] - and forgive us our transgressions, as we forgive those who transgress against us

[6] - And lead us while in temptation

[7] - and deliver us from evil

for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Absolute infinite beingness, God

Everlasting Life, Love and Mercy

manifesting yourself in yourself,

as the total wisdom and almightiness

Enlighten our minds to understand you as the truth

Clean our hearts to reflect your love towards you, and towards all other human beings.

The reverse prayer

1913-10-05-GA148

in the Fifth Gospel tells about a scene in Jesus life at about age 24, an experience of hearing Bath Kol (the spirit that had inspired Jewish prophets) with the words which represents the reverse of the Lord's Prayer.

Occult obligations exist.

And following one such occult obligation I disclose what Jesus of Nazareth heard from the transformed voice of Bath Kol.

He heard the words:

AUM, Amen!

Evil rules,

Witness of the severing I,

Selfhood's guilt by others owed,

In daily bread now felt,

In which heaven's will be not done,

For man deserted your kingdom,

And forgot your names,

You fathers in the heavens.

A prayer after MoG

1916-01-02-GA165

contains a prayer by Christ after the Mystery of Golgotha, as pointed out after the prayer text (for background see also the page 'After the resurrection'),

quote:

‘Oh, ye Powers in the spiritual world,

let me in my physical body be conscious in the world of Light,

let me be in the Light so as to perceive my own light-body,

and let not the power of the Ahrimanic forces be too strong for me,

so as to prevent me from beholding what takes place in my light-body.’

Once more I will repeat what a soul by whom these Powers are to some extent recognised in the spiritual world, might say in longing, in a kind of prayer:

‘Oh, ye Powers,

let me consciously, in the light,

from out of and by the light behold the occurrences within my own light-body;

weaken and take away the power of the Ahrimanic forces which obscure them.

Let me consciously by the light perceive my own light,

and remove the force that hinders me from seeing the light from out of and by the light.’

What I have just repeated to you is not simply an invented prayer, but it was thus that Christ taught those to pray who were able to understand Him after He had passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, during that time when He still lingered among His most intimate disciples.

..

These things were learnt by the intimate disciples of Jesus Christ during the time I have indicated. They were well aware how all things I have mentioned were brought about, and were instructed in all these matters during the time that Christ held intercourse with them after the Mystery of Golgotha.

An Essene prayer of Christ-Jesus

Daskalos

in 'The Esoteric Practice' - Christian meditations and exercises

In conclusion we present a meditation given by Christ-Jesus [Joshua Emmanuel the Christ, our Lord] in the synagogue of the Essene brotherhood, to his disciples before sending them into the world to work as teachers and healers. Relax completely. Visualize Joshua Emmanuel the Christ standing before you as you sit peacefully, listening. In perfect at-one-ment with His Divine Self, the Logos, and attuned with each and every human being, Joshua spreads out his arms and says:

All of you, listen. You are my children, my offspring. I am in you as God, as Absolute Beingness, your real Self, and you are always in me as gods. And I am also with you as a human being, as your loving father, within our loving Father.

Every breath you take, sustaining the life of your materialk body, is a fatherly kiss of mine for you. My beloved ones, I will not only speak to you in words of any language, but will also come to you as inspiration and as sensation.

I am the heat which keeps your body aline. I am the breeze, the fresh air, that caresses your face. I am in your eyes - as your sight, allowing you to enjoy my works around you, as phenomena of life. I am the sight and I see all.

I am continuously creating mind substance for you to keep your bodies thriving. I am the living 'bread of life' [1]. And I am the living water which you will drink and never thirst again [2]. I am the Mind vitality everywhere in the world. I am Spirit and I am Form. You are in my Omnipresence.

I am the wise voice in your minds that speaks to you when you are doing something which is not right, not rebuking but awakening you. For I am reason in your thoughts and I am love in your heart.

Cast away from your heart every bitter emotion, all enmity, and all cruelty you may harbour. I am the Life if you. Enjoy my Life. You are my offspring, you are my flesh and blood, part of myself.

I love you. Love all my expressions. Love all other human beings as your own self, and love all of life 'as I have loved you' and as I will always love you [3].

Notes:

  • [1]: John 6:48
  • [2]: John 4:10-14
  • [3]: John 13:34
  • Mind is used by Daskalos as: the bearer of all Life, an emanation of Absolute Beingness imbued with the total wisdom, love, power and purity of its creator. Everything that exists is made of Mind, it is substance eternally used in all creation. Mind is divine at its source, and holy in its expression.

Discussion

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Adolf Arenson: 'Die zehn Gebote und das Vaterunser' in 'Ergebnisse aus dem Studien der Geisteswissenschaft Rudolf Steiners: Heft 1' (1980)
  • Friedrich Rittelmeyer:
    • 'Das Vaterunser : zehn Kanzelreden' (1919)
    • 'Das Vaterunser - ein Weg zur Menschwerdung' (1935, 1985)
  • Heinrich Ogilvie (1899–1988): 'The Lord's Prayer' (in EN 1978, original in NL 1938 'Beschouwingen over het Onze Vader')
  • Fred Poeppig: Das Vaterunser als Menschheits- und Erkenntnisgebet (1956)
  • Friedrich Husemann: 'Das Vaterunser' - two lectures in: 'Der Ewige Name : das Verhältnis des Menschen zum Göttlichen (1963)
  • Alfred Hoppe: 'Betrachtungen zum Vaterunser' (1968)
  • Karl Friedrich Althoff: 'Das Vaterunser : die Wortgestalt des Menschheitsgebetes auf ihrem Weg durch die Kulturen der Völker' (1978)
  • Valentin Tomberg: The course on the Lord's Prayer, Vol. 1 to 4 (original 1940-1942, published in EN 2008-2016, more info on tombergbooks.com)
    • The Lord’s Prayer Course is a course in Christian esoteric schooling that was given originally by Valentin Tomberg to a small group of people in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) during the Second World War between 1940 and 1942. The English version is a translation from the edition published by initiate and Tomberg pupil Willi Seiss. It appeared in the 1980’s for distribution among friends, and from 2008 for a more general readership within the German-speaking world.
    • The Course on the Lord’s Prayer was formed in such a way, that the address and the Petitions of this prayer communicated by Christ were studied and meditated in weekly rhythms. In this process, the Petitions determined in each case [make up] the course of the exercise, while the corresponding days of the week were used for ongoing deepening in study and meditation. The Course begins with an overview of the entire content. This overview includes at the same time daily work involving a first reading through the whole Prayer. The pupil takes his orientation every time anew from this overview, when a further week’s work is about to begin.
  • Judith von Halle: 'Das Vaterunser. Das lebendige Wort Gottes' (2006 in DE, in NL 2008 as 'Het Onze Vader : het levende woord van God')
  • Peter Selg: 'The Lord's Prayer and Rudolf Steiner' (2014 in EN, original 2009 in DE: 'Das Vaterunser in der Darstellung Rudolf Steiners')
  • Viktor Stracke: 'Das Vaterunser und die Figuren der Rosenkreuzer' (2015)