I feel impressed to discuss the Lords prayer in the next couple/few blogs. Having just introduced the concept of “garden to earth to garden,” and pointing to the sabbath as a garden, I want to now look at the daily garden that is meant to generate a daily ascent. It is the daily ascent that will lead each individual to value the weekly ascent, or the sabbath.
Those who struggle to keep the sabbath ought to forget it for a while and focus on the daily ascent. The daily ascent, once established, will give the weekly ascent insatiable purpose. It is the failure in the daily ascent that produces resistance to the weekly ascent and the actual ascent. The small steps give the bigger steps greater purpose and value. If the small steps don’t exist or are shaky, then the bigger steps will either become non-existent or will merely traditional rhetoric and redundant (my mom would appreciate me using these big words!). That just means empty repetition- traditionalism/unbelief. We have all experienced this empty repetition.
The daily garden is in the home. The home is supposed to be second to only the temple. That is why the home is dedicated through a priesthood ordinance. We wake up in the home (morning garden), and we retire to the home (evening garden). The fruit that symbolizes the fruit of the tree of life in the “home garden” is “the words of Christ.” It is the words of Christ that we are counseled to partake of on a daily basis. The words of Christ aren’t only the study of scripture. The words of Christ includes those words that we pray that are given to us by the spirit.
2 Nephi 32:9
“9. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform anything unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”
Here we learn that all things ought to begin with prayer. Both Native American and Polynesian cultures traditionally believed that …every act was first initiated by prayer and then done with purpose, because it was dedicated to the creator. The words that are spoken in the prayer are not intended to be given in exactness. He who is commanded in all things is considered to be a slothful and not a wise servant (D&C 58:28). The prayer was intended to be inspired by the spirit, not repetitious, but unique and purposeful. It is described as “…where prayer was wont to be made…” (Acts 16:13). However the Lords prayer was given, not to be repeated, but to be a guideline for what frame-of-mind we ought to pattern our hearts in order to become effective in penetrating the heavens. In 3 Nephi 19 the Lord prays and instructs the saints to pray. The Lord commends the Nephites prayers, stating that they “…did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire.”(3 Nephi 19:24).
The Lords prayer is packed full of principle. But even the Lords prayer has been traditionalized and minimized into a checklist, and spoken without understanding, without seeking the meaning, without consulting “the root” of the matter. The Lords prayer is as follows:
“9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hollowed be thy name.
10. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11. Give us this day our daily bread.
12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13. 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.”
The concept of- what is done on earth is done in heaven- is significant for us mortals to being connected to heaven. Modern revelation states that the “…the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven…” (D&C 121:36). If what is done on earth is different than what is done in heaven then we are separated, disconnected, and the link is broken to heaven. The ordinances must be performed with exactness because the ordinances is what provides us on earth connectivity to the heavens. The heavens are constant and unchanging by law, so if anything has changed and broken that link, it is us on earth who have done it.
The ancient Egyptians believed that strict observance to the rites was deadly important. They too believed that what occurs in heaven and what we do on earth must be the same in order to preserve the conduit of light for us to ascend and obtain that hidden knowledge. The saints were reminded of the importance of maintaining the ordinances in the following:
“15. For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;
16. They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.”
As we pray the prayer that wont to be prayed and study the words of Christ to right our actions, the Lord promises that he will give us a greater endowment. The very same endowment (hidden ordinances- D&C 124:38) that was promised to the saints at Nauvoo if they completed the temple in “…sufficient time,” but they failed to do so and suffered the penalties (D&C 124:32-35).
The symbol of garden to earth to garden is a call for all to return to “mine ordinances.” It is beckoning us to right our straying lives and ascend. Repentance has never been a bad thing. We often confuse repentance with accusation (which is never a good thing.) I do not accuse the saints of Nauvoo, nor do I accuse any of you. As we right the daily ascension with purposeful prayer and study of the mind and will of God (scripture), we can right the ordinances in us, reconnect to the heavens, perform real miracles, receive angelic instruction, and partake of the real fruit of the tree of life, not just the symbolic fruit.