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The Lordís Prayer.

If we admit ourselves to be weak, unwise and live in poverty, and we have a friend and protector, who loves us a lot and can do much for us, for sure in the moments of need we shall address him, appealing for help. And the more he loves us, the more eagerly he will fulfill our requests. Everyone knows from experience, how much more pleasant is to do a favor to the man, who will tell about his need clearly and will ask to help him, having complete trust, than to the one, who will murmur unsurely: "Maybe, you will not be able to help, maybe, you will have no wish toÖ," and then will start giving advice: "You should help me not like this, but that wayÖ or otherwise I do not want it." Pure, authentic, enlightened desire to help ó a spark of our Divine similarity ó fades because of such distrust or importunity, and we shall reject helping such a person, or help him not out of an authentic feeling but out of the sense of duty.

Furthermore: having a loving, powerful and wise friend and protector, we shall not only appeal to him, but love him in response, shall try to show our love for him and thank him.

Exactly the same way a Christian treats God. We know that He loves us, each one of us, each of His creatures, as He Himself said: "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee" (Is. 49:15), and as Apostle John teaches us: "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

We know as well that He, the One Who created the skies and the earth and is holding everything in His Hand, is almighty, infinitely good and wise.

Therefore we, the Christians, with complete hope address to Him with appeals about our needs, sorrows and troubles. We do that with absolute trust and love, which are greater than a father has to the loved son, without imposing our caprices, often sinful and unreasonable, and not demanding that He should send us this or that thing. Only complaining about our difficulties, and not doubting that He will hear us, we totally entrust to His ever-Good will the fulfillment of our requests.

Though, as loving children of a father, we not only ask something from God, we also thank Him for His endless blessings, and worship Him, expressing our love for Him, seeing in Him the source of everything good in the universe. A person, possessing in the Christian way developed soul, rejoices at each given to him opportunity to pray, express his love for God, as a person, who loves, is glad about each opportunity to express his love to the beloved. Following the advice of Apostle Paul: "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thes. 5:17), many pious Christians repeat Jesus Prayer many times a day, which easily helps to address God, working and doing everyday things without stopping.

Although, the specimen of the most elevated prayer always was and will be the so-called Lordís Prayer, with which Christ Himself taught His disciples, when they asked Him to teach them how to pray. The Lord told them : "After this manner therefore pray ye:

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." (Math. 6:9 and Luke 11:2).

This prayer begins with calling the Lord: "Our Father which art in heaven." The greatest joy, the biggest advantage Christ brought to us: the right to call God the father, the right, which people were deprived of, when they became unfaithful to Him, breaking His commandment. We call God "Father which art in heaven," not because God lives nowhere, but in heaven. God is the ubiquitous Spirit: in heaven, on earth and in every place. Our sky that is visible, spreading over the earth, appears as a symbol of everything elevated and as such ó a symbol of the throne of God. Therefore saying: "Our Father which art in heaven" we remind ourselves that He is our Father, Who is higher than everything!

Then come our appeals. The first among them is a request: "Hallowed be thy name." Each loving son of the father, who has all the merits, feels an ardent desire that his fatherís name could be known to all and honored by all. Especially the son must fear not to harm his fatherís good name with any unworthy act. Exactly these feelings we show in the relation to the Heavenly God-Father, saying: "Hallowed be thy name"

Holiness is the combination of perfections. Therefore, in the full sense of the word, only God can be holy, as it is chanted in the prayer: "The Lord alone is holy." People can be holy only relatively, but the more they will be drawn to the Divine holiness, the more the Lordís name will be hallowed and glorified in them, as in the praising of a good son, his parents are honored as well. Exactly about such a glorification in us of the name of God we ask in the first appeal of the Lordís Prayer.

Then comes: "Thy kingdom come." "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 14:17), ó teaches the apostle. Consequently, one should not be concerned neither about the physical rest, nor about life pleasures, but about the spiritual values: pure conscience, righteousness, peace and joy, which are reported by the Holy Spirit. The Divine Kingdom should come in its glory and power at the end of time, when the world will burn in the cleansing power of Godís judgment, and all the dead will resurrect, when all lies, dirt, malice, with which our world is filled now, will stop existing. Then in the entire universe will begin to rule Christ and His ever-good law. For this longed-for moment must reach every Christian soul, asking in prayer together with the apostle: "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

But one should think of the Reign of God to come not only at a distance of the end of ages. Together with the arrival of Christ it already came to the earth in the image of His Church. Everything that can be in the Kingdom of God is put into it. In the Reign of God that will arrive after the end of time, we shall meet all that Grace, which is now given to us in the Church, in its fullness. Surely, we are talking about the Church, not as about an organization, but as of the inwardly blessed organism, about the Body of Christ, to the blessed life of which we are drawn in the divine services and mysteries. About that inner mysterious life, abiding in us, Christ said: "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21).

And so, saying, "Thy kingdom come," we ask the Lord so that His Kingdom could triumph in our souls with righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Spirit, and then about this Kingdom to be revealed throughout the world, that the oppressing times of lies and malice would end.

In the third appeal of the Lordís Prayer we ask all we do and all that occurs to us to happen not in the way we want, but in the way it is good for God. Trust is the basis of a prayer. We should entrust ourselves to God the Heavenly Father, knowing that He is Ever-Good, Ever-Wise and Almighty, loves us without measure, and consequently wishes us the best. This is said not only in the relation to ourselves, but to our close ones and everything dear to us: our fatherland and family. Only malice that sometimes takes control of the man is hated by the Lord, all the rest that is dear to the human heart, in the same way is dear to the Lord, as anything that is loved by the children, is dear to the heart of their mother. That is why we should give ourselves, and all that is loved by us, over to the will of God with complete, entire trust. "Let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God."

We sometimes achieve something and then bitterly regret about what we have achieved. The example of the past Russian generation, which longed for the radical changes in the existing authority, is in front of our eyes. The Divine plans are infinitely wise. And the one, who can entrust everything to the Divine will, finds stable spiritual peace, which does not leave him even in the time of serious tests, and feels glad, seeing the guiding and good Divine hand in the meandering ways of the world lots and deadlocks of his life.

Exactly this way, once and forever the angels in heaven gave all their life to the will of God, and we ask it to be the same way on earth, so that we could walk along the correct path.

The man has the body and soul. For the both of them food is needed. Food for the soul is the Divine grace, and for the body we ask in the next appeal of the Lordís Prayer: "Give us this day our daily bread." Exactly the daily bread, i.e. the necessary, without scantiness or surplus. The Lord will always give us everything necessary for us. In reality, the man needs just little food; and people more often suffer of excesses, then of lack. Thereís surplus of food on the planet. If people would be happy only with the necessary things, then some would never suffer of hunger, and the others of satiation, which causes harm to their health. There would be no severe wars, for people fight not for the daily bread but for excess and luxury. We ask the Heavenly Father about the daily, necessary bread, knowing that we should earn it honestly, for "that if any would not work, neither should he eat" ó teaches Apostle Paul (2 Thess. 3:10).

Therefore, the Savior says: "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Math. 6:34). And more: "And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Luke 12:29).

Then we ask so that the Lord would forgive us "our debts, as we forgive our debtors." A debt in its true meaning is any of our duties, that, what we should do. God, the fullness of the good, created us so that we should love the good, do it and serve to Him, and we waste our strength and time for any type of fuss, and commit sins. So, the Lord inspires us to ask for forgiveness, promising to forgive us. With that, as the only condition of His forgiveness the Lord asks us to forgive those, who have fault with us. Christ several times drew attention to the importance of this condition in His sermons and His parable about the merciful king and unmerciful debtor (Math. 18:23). "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Math. 6:14). And more: "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Math. 5:23)

In the sixth appeal we ask: "And lead us not into temptation." Various temptations and trials would come, and we have to overcome them. The will, not hardened in the battle, is not stable; love and faithfulness, powerless to fight against temptations, do not have any value. It is a joy for a father, when he sees his son avoiding friendship with the depraved people. A mother asks her child for a piece of something sweet to test him, and if he shares it with her, she rejoices at his kind heart. A person in love is happy, if his love, being subjected to a trial, remains inviolably strong. Such love gains even greater value and durability. Our love for God must become indestructibly firm and unfailing up to the end. And it might become alike, only passing the tests. That is why Christ said that "the temptations have to come."

But for in the temptations there hides the possibility of downfall and treason to God, we should fear them and not rely upon our forces alone. Therefore we ask the Lord not to let us fall during temptations, but send us strength to win in them.

"But deliver us from evil," we ask in the seventh, last appeal. Sly in Greek, evil, low ó is the spirit of malice and the source of any kind of evil ó the devil.

In the connection with that it is necessary to respond to the question, which is often posed: about the origin of the evil in the world. If God is the Creator of all and there is nothing in the world, that He did not create, then the question is: does not He appear to be the Creator of the evil, which we see in the world so often? The correct answer is: No!

God created everything as kind, but the created by him personalities are endowed with the free will. And freedom gives the opportunity of choice: to obey or disobey God. And so, those of the created by God spirits, which chose the devotion to God, became His angels, and those, who rebelled against Him, consciously chose the evil path and became demons. From this initial evil, separation from God and resistance to Him, originated various and many-sided evil, swirling in the universe. But it possesses no independent essence; it did not create anything and is not able to do it. It exists as a parasite at the expense of destroying the good.

The angels were solving the problem of devotion to God once and forever, because they are not bound with changeable and inert body, but are able instantly, independent of time, to perceive the entire depth of difference between the good and the evil and make a deliberate and decisive chose.

People, being carnal, are bound with time, subjected to changes, possess the ability to incline either towards the good, or the evil many times. Being created by God as kind, they had to preserve and multiply that goodness, resisting temptations and forthcoming from the easier to the more difficult. But they did not resist the very first temptation, yielded to the seduction of the evil bearer ó the devil, and being weaker, got under his influence.

But the Lord did not leave people in the destructive state, He undertook measures for their salvation, in order that they could regain the lost purity, helped them to fight with sin, leading them through His righteous men and prophets. Finally, God sent into the world His Son ó Christ the Savior, Who gave people the opportunity to become the members of His blessed Kingdom ó the Church. The devil turned out to be defeated. But, possessed by irresistible malice, he continues tempting people, playing on their stupidity and weaknesses.

So, against his slyness and malice, we ask God to defend us: "Deliver us from evil." We finish the prayer with the glorification: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." We realize and rejoice at the fact that all belongs to Him, though in our imperfect world all the qualities are revealed in the imperfect manner as well.

Let it be so for the moment! We all can and should feel ourselves as the messengers of the great powerful king, who in the presence of robbers and rebels, which rose against the invincible Ruler, without fear announce of his power and greatness, about his unfading glory.

"Christ reigns!" joyfully and victoriously exclaimed ancient martyrs, ready to face the death, in the presence of the wicked, outwardly triumphing, and inwardly already defeated Roman heathens. The same way we, in spite of the outward triumph of the evil, know that the true force and Power belong to our Only God, ruling over the universe, and the triumph of the evil is momentary and illusory. The Kingdom of Christ will come, and we glorify His coming beforehand. It will not resemble the quick-fading terrestrial kingdoms, which exist one day, and crumble to dust the next one. This is the Kingdom of Christ and now and forever, for the ages of ages it is steadfast. And we are called to inherit this Kingdom (Luke 12:32) and co-reign with Christ.

Should we not rejoice and thank God?

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