The Lord’s Prayer: Commentary by St. John of Kronstadt

“Worship God in Spirit and in Truth”

“In truth, for instance, when you say, ‘Hallowed be Thy Name.’ Do you really desire that God’s name should be hallowed by the good works of others and by your own?

When you say, ‘Thy Kingdom come,’ do you indeed desire the coming of God’s Kingdom? Do you wish to be the abode of the Spirit of God, and not the abode of sin? Would you not more willingly live in sin?

When you say, “Thy will be done,’ do you not rather seek your own will than that of God? Ay, it is so!

When you say, ‘Give us this day our daily bread,’ do you not say otherwise in your heart, ‘I do not need to ask this of Thee – I have enough without asking; let the poor ask for this’? Or else, do we not greedily seek for more, and are not satisfied with the little, or with that which God has given us? We do not thank God for what we have as we ought to.

In the prayer: ‘And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us,’ do you think in yourself: ‘God knows that I am not such a great sinner. It seems to me that I do not live any worse than others, and there is no need for me to ask that my trespasses or sins should be forgiven’? Or else when you thus pray is there not any displeasure or anger in your heart against anyone? – for if so, you lie shamelessly to God in your prayer.

You say, ‘And lead us not into temptation,’ but do you not yourself rush impetuously into every sin, without even being tempted?

You say, ‘Deliver us from evil,’ but do you not live in friendship with the Devil or with evil of every kind, of which the Devil is chief?

Beware, then, that your tongue is not in discordance with your heart; see that you do not lie to God in your prayer. Always keep this in view when you say the Lord’s Prayer, as well as when you say other prayers. Watch whether your heart agrees with everything that your tongue pronounces.”

–St. John of Kronstadt, “My Life in Christ


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