Many people pray hoping to change God’s mind with regard to their life. And most humans pray only when they are ill or in misfortune. But it should surprise us to learn that our prayer does not change God’s mind in any way whatsoever. We do not need to tell God what we desire because He is omniscient and God will continue to love us infinitely no matter what we do because He is Divine Love itself. So, why should we pray? Even Jesus prayed to the Father (Divine Love) when he was on earth. But this is because he had put on human flesh, which contained the hereditary sins of humanity, and he was in the process of restoring spiritual equilibrium. So, this means that prayer must be useful in some way.
Prayer does not change God but it can change us. Thus, when Jesus was praying, he was reconciling the human and the Divine. We can also produce some changes within us by praying. Whether we know it or not, inwardly, we are always in a relationship with God because the most inward part of our soul (our will) is a gift of God’s own substance. But we can turn this love in any way we desire. We can turn it towards God or towards our own self or away from God. When we pray, we are consciously turning our love towards God and this tends to open our heart and mind so we can receive more Love and Wisdom.
Now, the Lord left us a prayer in the New Testament:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For yours is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen
Our Heavenly Father is Divine Love itself. God’s name is holy because it corresponds to His infinite qualities. God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. If human beings freely chose to act from love of use, love of neighbor and love of God, the Kingdom of Heaven would be manifested on earth. The real bread that we need is Divine Love because it is the substance from which all other substances are derived by correspondence and influx. Divine Love can heal our soul, our body, our relationships and fulfill our material needs. The events that occur on the material plane of earth do not happen by chance. They are manifested by correspondence from the higher-dimensional mental and spiritual realms. Thus any conscious changes that we make to our heart and mind produce corresponding changes in our life.
Since God is mercy itself, He can immediately forgive our sins if we repent but He will only forgive our own sins if we forgive the sins of others. When we are unforgiving, we close our heart and Divine Love is unable to flow into it. We know that temptation is the way we can be regenerated but, when our soul is free of all evil (selfishness), we are no longer tempted.
Heaven is the Lord’s Kingdom. And God is the One and Only source of all Love, Wisdom and Power in the whole universe. Amen signifies “divine confirmation from Truth, consequently from the Lord himself.”
THE INNER MEANING OF THE LORD’S PRAYER.
by Edward Craig Mitchell
In the Lord’s Prayer, we see how the inward sense adds fulness of meaning to the phrase, “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so also upon the earth.” Literally, these words suggest that the will of the Lord should be done, by those persons who remain on earth, as, or in like manner as, it is done by those who are in heaven; that is, fully and cheerfully. But, a profounder meaning- is added to this, when we remember that every man has his individual mental heaven and earth, his inward mind and his outward mind. In his inward mind, he learns and sees the will of the Lord, and knows how to apply it to his life. Then, the prayer teaches him that, as, inwardly he loves and understands the will of the Lord, and does it in his inward affections and thoughts, his mental heaven, so he must do it in his mental earth, his outward, natural mind and life. He must bring down, and out, the holy feelings and thoughts of his spirit, and make them control and mould his every-day practical feelings, thoughts and doings, even in the earth of his outward mind and life. And this additional meaning adds great force to the prayer. Practically it shows us how to carry out our prayers. It teaches us to pray, not merely in words, but also in practical life.
The relation between the material heavens and the earth, is an exact parallel, and is in exact correspondence with the relation between man’s spiritual mind and his natural mind. The life of the physical earth comes down from the sun, in the heavens, whose heat and light produce vegetation, and induce the falling of the rain and the dew, and the action of the atmosphere. But all actual fruitfulness of life takes place on the earth, but from the sources of material life which are in and from the heavens. So, in man’s mind, all life comes from the spiritual and inward side, from the love and wisdom which are the spiritual heat and light of the Lord’s spiritual sun, His Divine love. And yet, although all life comes to man from within and above, by what the Lord pours into a man’s spirit, his mental heaven, yet all the actual fruitfulness and progress in man’s life must be produced in the earth of his natural mind and life. For, in his outward life are summed up, and embodied, all the principles of his life; and, hence, our Lord teaches us that men are known by their fruits.
Author: Edward Craig Mitchell from Scripture Symbolism (1904)
That there are countless things in the ideas of thought, and that those which are in order within them are there from things more interior, was also evident to me while I read the Lord’s Prayer morning and evening. The ideas of my thought were then always opened toward heaven, and countless things flowed in, so that I observed clearly that the ideas of thought taken from the contents of the Prayer were filled from heaven. And such things were also poured in as cannot be uttered, and also could not be comprehended by me; I merely felt the general resulting affection, and wonderful to say the things that flowed in were varied from day to day. From this I was given to know that in the contents of this Prayer there are more things than the universal heaven is capable of comprehending; and that with man there are more things in it in proportion as his thought has been opened toward heaven; and on the other hand, there are fewer things in it in proportion as his thought has been closed; for with those whose thought has been closed, nothing more appears therein than the sense of the letter, or that sense which is nearest the words. Emanuel Swedenborg [AC 6619]
I was allowed to see the angelic ideas surrounding these words in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil’. Good spirits nearest to me began to remove ‘temptation’ and ‘evil’ by a certain idea that was perceptible within me, and this they continued to do until that which was purely angelic, that is, good, remained, and no idea of temptation or evil was there – the literal sense thereby perishing altogether. Of that good countless ideas were being formed when that removal first began – ideas of how good may come out of a person’s affliction when yet the affliction originates in that person and in his evil, which holds punishment within it. And coupled with these ideas there was a kind of indignation that people should suppose that temptation and the evil going with it should come from any other source, and that there should be any thought of evil when they thought about the Lord. These ideas were being purified every time they rose up higher. These risings were represented by removals, which were carried out with a rapidity and in a manner that were indescribable, until they passed into the shadowy side of my thought. At that point they were in heaven where angelic ideas beyond words exist regarding that good which is the Lord’s. Emanuel Swedenborg [AC 1875]