Prayer by any other name is…prayer.

June 20, 2014

p5Do you pray? Whether it’s intercessory prayer or a prayer of gratitude, many of us do speak to the Divine at one time or another.  Some of us learned formal prayers of a religion in childhood. I did, too, memorizing the Hail Mary and the Lord’s Prayer, among others. And in times of trouble, the hard-for-me-to-remember words to Hail! Holy Queen. have come to me without problem.  Yes, for some of us, prayer is automatic.

Years ago I came across Marianne Williamson’s Illuminata, a book of contemporary prayers she wrote. I loved them all.  Here’s a beautiful morning prayer, from her book, Illuminata.

Dear God,
I give this day to You.
May my mind stay centered on the things of spirit.
May I not be tempted to stray from love.
As I begin this day, I open to receive You.
Please enter where You already abide.
May my mind and heart be pure and true, and may I not deviate from the things of goodness.
May I see the love and innocence in all mankind, behind the masks we all wear and the illusions of this worldly plane.
I surrender to You my doings this day.
I ask only that they serve You and the healing of the world.
May I bring Your love and goodness with me, to give unto others wherever I go.
Make me the person You would have me be.
Direct my footsteps, and show me what You would have me do.
Make the world a safer, more beautiful place.
Bless all Your creatures.
Heal us all, and use me, dear Lord, that I might know the joy of being used by You.

I love you

Marianne Williamson’s prayers remind us to love not only the Divine but ourselves and the world.

I love Marianne’s prayers. But still, the ones that have stuck with me are the ones I learned as a kid. The traditional ones. The ones that have come down through the ages.

Or have they?

Let me cut right to the chase. The problem I have with the Bible is that it’s been translated and re-translated until it’s true meaning has been lost to the ages. So Biblical literalists are really not following the Bible as it was written. In Aramaic. Who knows what was really intended? Scholars have written much on this subject, but it’s not the topic of this post.  The topic for today is the Lord’s Prayer.

I was surprised to learn that the Lord’s Prayer is not exactly as we know it. At least not originally. There is an “earliest and probably original” version of the Lord’s prayer, translated directly from the original Aramaic –not the usual translation, which is Greek to Latin to English.  This is the “earliest version:”

mind-bodyO cosmic Birther, from whom the breath of life comes
who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.
May your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.
Your Heavenly Domain approaches.
Let Your will come true in the universe (all that vibrates) just as on earth (that is material and dense).
give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,

detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma) like we let go the guilt of others.

 Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations)
but let us be freed from what keeps us from our true purpose.
From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act, the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.
Sealed in trust, faith and truth (I confirm with my entire being) Amen. 
* * *
But then, I found this one, that also purports to be a direct translation.
O Cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration!
Soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us where your Presence can abide.
Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit of your mission.
Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire.
Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share what each being needs to grow and flourish.
Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.
Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose, but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.
For you are the ground and the fruitful vision,the birth, power and fulfillment, as all is gathered and made whole once again.
* * *
So what are we to conclude from all this? Well, I believe all translations are subjective and not necessarily verbatim. What’s important is to pray, however we do it.
I love these original versions much better than our usual ones and will be using them. Both. And trying to remember to begin each day with Marianne’s Morning Prayer.
* * *
What do YOU think? Have you a favorite prayer?
28 comments on “Prayer by any other name is…prayer.
  1. Barbara says:

    Yes, I do pray every day, and I guess, all day long, in one form or another. I start with a morning prayer and go on to the Rosary while I walk my puppies, then just talk to God off and on all day. Thank you so much for sharing these. I love Marianne’s morning prayer, and both of the translations are beautiful, proving the depth in what appear to be simple words. Several years ago I read a book by St. Teresa of Avila that broke down the Lord’s Prayer, revealing so much depth that I hadn’t realized. It’s never been the same for me.

  2. I love this morning prayer. Thank you.
    For me, in times of fear or extreme anxiety I am a rosary prayer.
    Every morning I say a prayer( whatever comes to mind) I read positive devotions, and I try to be still and quiet for at least a few minutes. I think of all of the reasons I am going to have a great day, count my blessings and think of some ways to pay it forward.
    Throughout the day I talk to God, Mary, angels or anyone that will listen:)

  3. Donna says:

    Prayer is the most powerful force on earth. I love all prayers, but I only use them as a pattern. Every prayer comes from my heart straight to deity. It is an amazing gift to be able to speak directly with God. And I do it in my own words, from my heart.
    My prayers are answered, sometimes quickly and sometimes very slowly, over time. But I always feel peace, acceptance and love from my prayers. My prayers always include…gratitude, supplication and forgiveness for things I wish I could do better, or just things I have messed up on. I get direction on how to forgive, how to make amends, and lately I have been asking for courage.

  4. Diane says:

    I do pray. A lot. My prayers are unrehearsed and totally verbatim arising from a heart filled with gratitude for blessings and/or my worries and concerns of the moment. I find great comfort and guidance in prayer. These prayers are amazing. Filled with love and a sense of giving, rather than receiving. Beautiful!

  5. These feel like 70s translations to me versus ancient ones. I do love this line though: Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose, but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.

    • They are supposedly direct translations. Now that I know my former neighbor knows Aramaic, I’ll have to ask him! I’m still blown away that he was the Pope’s spokesman but more so that he actually knows Aramaic!!! Expert in the house!

  6. Karen says:

    When I began to learn Hebrew blessings, I realized that the Lord’s prayer follows an ages-old pattern. It begins with the standard invocation: “Baruch ata adonai…” (Blessed art thou, oh lord) “eloheinu melech ha-olam…” (maker of heaven and earth) “asher kidishanu b’mitz’votav…” (who has sanctified us with his commandments), and so on.

    Each blessing has a specific purpose, and as a rabbi or teacher, Jesus would have used the standard opening, followed by the details, as it were.

  7. Lana says:

    I do pray every day, and usually end with the version of the Lord’s Prayer I was taught many years ago. While I enjoy reading the bible, I agree that the many translations through the years have probably gotten away from the original meaning (game of Telephone, anyone?). This reminded me of standing in Catholic grade school, reciting the rosary with my classmates!

  8. Ruth Curran says:

    My prayers are simple. I welcome my guides and ancestors and thank them, frequently throughout the day for allowing me to be and do my highest and best for myself and others. I first learned this approach from a talented, intuitive healer. I feel my energy shift every time I say thank you and I know that gratitude helps me reach higher. So call it prayer or continual acknowledgement that I am not in this vessel and this world alone and am oooooh soooo grateful — I don’t know if that matters.
    I love that dug deeply enough to find those versions of the Lord’ prayer. Thank you for sharing that!

  9. Kimberly says:

    Marianne Williamson has such a beautiful “voice.” I have prayed many of her prayers since I discovered her writings in the early-90s. And those other translations of the Lord’s Prayer are beautiful. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  10. I think that what gives us comfort is a very individual thing. Whatever the words, it’s the intent that counts.

  11. carol graham says:

    Appreciated your post and your suggestions to seek out the most accurate translation. The easiest way to do that is by using a Strong’s concordance(which is readily available on line). You can open up the King James version with Strong’s next to it and get the original text for each word. A real eye-opener.

  12. Hi Carol! I love the translations you provided. Can you share who did the translations. I agree that the Bible has been translated so many times and ways that it is wise to remember that there were a lot of people interjecting their interpretation on the word throughout the centuries. Plus, any time anyone is offering an interpretation is it flowing through their perspective and background. I always find it helpful to objectively evaluate the translator just as much as the translation. But as I said, both of the prayers your provided are lovely.

    I too strongly believe in the power of prayer and do so regularly–like every day. My typical is my personal version of Science of Mind. I learned it about 20 years ago and feel it works for me in many circumstances. Beyond that, I tend to believe that my life is my ongoing prayer. Thanks for this thought provoking post. ~Kathy

    • I didn’t bookmark the translations but a search would probably turn them up easily. The idea of a life being an ongoing prayer is a lovely one. Thanks for that.

  13. Started reading Marianne’s prayer and my ears teared up and I was filled with love and trust/surrender. Gracias for sharing this most moving of messages. BB2U

  14. Ellen Dolgen says:

    My daily prayer is more like a mantra – I try to take each day and live it in love not fear.

  15. It’s interesting to see all the different versions of the prayer. I agree with you though—the bible has been through SOOO many translations and interpretations—hard to tell what is REAL and what is not.

  16. I have never really been religious I don’t pray so much as just talk to God.

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