The Lord’s Prayer is the most important of all the Christian documents. Everyone who is seeking to follow along the Way that Jesus led, should pray the Lord’s Prayer intelligently every day. The Great Prayer is a compact formula for the development of the soul. It is designed with the utmost care for that specific purpose; so that those who use it regularly , with understanding, will experience a real change of soul. It is the change of soul that matters. The mere acquisition of knowledge received intellectually makes no change in the soul.
The first thing that we notice is that the prayer naturally falls into seven clauses. This is very characteristic of the Oriental tradition. Seven symbolizes individual completeness, the perfection of the individual soul, just as the number twelve in the same convention stands for corporate completeness. The seven clauses are put together in perfect order and sequence, and they contain everything that is necessary for the nourishment of the soul. The more on analyzes the Lord’s Prayer, the more wonderful its construction is seen to be.
After this manner therefore pray ye…(Matthew 6:9)
If you went to church as a kid, then you have the Lord’s Prayer memorized and can recite it on demand. If you go to any 12 step group whether it be AA, NA, OA, SA, CA, Al-Anon or any of the thousands of “Anonymous” groups, then you recite the prayer at the end of the meeting while holding hands together in a circle. Not every meeting ends like this, some choose to recite the Serenity Prayer, usually because they think the Lord’s Prayer is too churchy and religious. That is too bad, but to each their own.
Since all the 12 step groups spawned from Alcoholics Anonymous, it is important to look at where this fellowship got its roots of spirituality and belief from. The literature for AA is called The Big Book, and it is a book based on Christian beliefs in one God and that God is mentioned many times along with prayers that sound really religious. A lot of people are turned off by this and turn away from the true message behind the words because it brings up resentment and uncomfortable feelings. This needs to be addressed since this book contains the simplest and most direct way to God that even priests agree with. Many people find their understanding of God through 12 step groups. They have the best approach, one that does not involve forcing one belief down your throat as the end all be all of religious truth. It is one that allows the person coming in the door to decide for themselves what kind of God they will choose to believe in, and the success of millions across the world of people who were once sick and suffering is proof that it works.
But where does it all come from?
Alcoholics Anonymous was started when Bill Wilson who lived in New York, a drunk, found another drunk, Bob Smith, and they shared their stories of insanity and alcoholic tortue together. Both stayed relatively sober after that first meeting, and after finding other drunks to get sober, created the 12 steps of recovery. That is the history in a nutshell, so all you history experts stop right there and shut your dirty little whorish mouths. 10th step: Admit when I am wrong. Sorry about the rude comment, I didn’t mean it and was only trying to be witty, clever, and silly. Moving on…
This guy Bill, who engineered the 12 steps, attended lectures and followed the New Thought movement that was big back in the 1930’s. The movement was led by a little man from Ireland name Emmet Fox. His understanding of the Bible surpassed any of his time and in my belief any since it was written. Fox used to fill Carnegie Hall and lecture halls across the country, this little guy with a little voice, and people were captivated by his love and his understanding which he spoke so clearly about to the audience. Bill Wilson and the early Alcoholic Anonymous’ would not have made it without his help. Maybe they could have but Emmet Fox’s influence on the Big Book literature is unmistakable. The daily inventory, the prayer and meditation, the restitution, the self-analysis, the positive and constructive thinking that it promotes…all stems from principles that Emmet Fox talked about and wrote about.
In fact, up until a certain period Emmet Fox could be read about in pamphlets that were handed out at AA meetings across the U.S. But for some strange and very disappointing reason, General Service stopped supporting that and it faded away. The message contained in Fox’s words gave myself and my father a spiritual experience, and also helped people who I gave it to. Any message that has the power to change the way someone thinks, from one way that isn’t working to another that is better and works 10 times more effectively, is exactly what the Bible and the Big Book is supposed to be doing…but sadly it is not. The Big Book has become a prop for windows, a paper weight, and a place to hide money. If you look at the recovery rate across the country it is directly related to the decrease in understanding and usage of the Big Book, which contains a powerful message and practical daily designs for happy, peaceful, positive living. Why? How come?
The treatment machine is one reason. Why use something that is free and works when you can market something like expensive ass treatment facilities that don’t work and it will keep them coming back for help? The intention might be good but all that does is make a smooth ride to hell. Which is what is happening in these facilities as funding shuts down. If any of you have been in a holding facility in Massachusetts, you will know what I speak of. Same thing for detox and residential programs. Detox is the only necessary thing for a drug addict or alcoholic to go through because of the dangers that come from withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepine. Heroin, cocaine, and meth are all drugs that don’t kill you if you try to come off of them.
Watered down, that is one word I hear a lot throughout the 12 step communities, and what I have been hearing and seeing is true. People who are not in a position to help because they do not have the power nor understanding of the 12 steps (ie spiritual and sane) are sponsoring other people who are lost and need guidance. That person might get the help they needed, and then they MIGHT pass it on to someone else. The message is weak, the message is diluted with lies and lesser, easier ways that are short cuts. The reward for this is exactly that: short. The real reward is in going through the whole process of the 12 steps and having a life changing spiritual experience that transforms the person from thinking and acting one way into another that is beyond and more powerful. What is the point of the 12 steps if you don’t change?
An example of what is happening to what used to be almost 100 percent successful in helping sick people recover completely as if they were “cured” is the Lord’s Prayer. At the end of the meeting everyone stands up and awkwardly holds hands with one another to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Our Father…blah blah blah it goes on with no feeling, just a chant that people can’t wait for it to end so they can stop holding the hands of someone else. One of the most powerful prayers is being overlooked and misunderstood or not understood at all.
Just look at the first two words of the prayer: OUR FATHER. When the people in the circle say that, how many actually put feeling behind it and feel the love that exists in those two words? Do you feel the brotherhood? The bonding? The fellowship uniting as a family because OUR FATHER is a loving, caring, benevolent power like the sun that shines on all of us? No matter who you are or what you have done? Most people rattle through the prayer like parrots and don’t get anything from it. It is just a shame because of what they are missing. Don’t shy away from God or fear God because of your past. Don’t water it down and reword it so it sounds less religious. Get over it. Or die.
Embrace God as your father, and open up to the possibility that regardless of how the world was created, there is a power out there and inside of you that is all good, all powerful, all loving, all about helping you reach your true place in life.