Jesus,’ “Lord’s Prayer.”

A little over half way through the Text we find what Helen Schucman recognized as a new version of the Lord’s Prayer.  When it first came to her from Jesus’ “silent voice” it troubled her because she thought she was transcribing incoherently.  She called her colleague Bill Thetford who assured her that she was doing fine, and soon her silent voice also reassured her.

To better understand and appreciate this new Lord’s Prayer it is best considered in context.  It appears at the end of T-16, The Forgiveness of Illusions. It  culminates section VII, The End of Illusions; which is a discussion of special relationships, our need to let go of the past, and how forgiving our brothers for their illusions leads to us forgiving our illusions by being in the Holy Instant listening to the Holy spirit  Then in the Introduction to T-17 (which follows the new prayer), Jesus teaches us that all of our problems are based on our illusions, our sins are imaginary, and (like Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole), “what is done in dreams has not been really done.”  Study of T-16 Section VII, the new Prayer and then the Introduction of T-17 will establish that Jesus’s new version of the Lord’s Prayer is an important aspect of his correction of Christianity. One of Ken Wapnick’s academic friends though goes even farther, saying “the Course dismantles Christianity.”

In The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, (Harper Collins Pbk, 1992), John Dominic Crossan discusses the Biblical Lord’s Prayers.  He begins his book by explaining how he decided what the Historical Jesus actually spoke.  Crossan analyzed the Gospels and assigned more validity to passages which appear in at least all four.  The Lords Prayer appears in only two, Luke11:2-4, and Matthew 6:9-13.  In order for Crossan to include it among the sayings he attributes to the Historical Jesus he requires, “a wider attestation …and also a more uniform version of its contents.”  I.E, found in more than two of the Gospels, and contain similar wording. Even though Crossan does not find solid evidence to attribute the Biblical Lord’s Prayer to the historical Jesus, Crosson considers it “a serene statement of the absolute and unmediated access to God that the Jesus movement proclaims.”

Following are Biblical versions Crossan cites, Matthew from the Douay Bible, Luke 11:2-4 and Matthew 6:9-13.  Notice first of all, the Biblical Lord’s Prayers bring God into the world.  Jesus’ new ACIM prayer does not.

Our Father who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name.
They Kingdome come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Luke11:2-4; is preceded by the “situational phrase, teach us how to pray”
Father, hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us:
and lead us not into temptation.

Matthew 6:9-13.
Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name (plural)  (address to Father)
Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven, but deliver us from evil.  (7 petitions)
Give us each day our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us:
and lead us not into temptation.

Crossan notes that these prayers are petitions for daily needs, prayers that any practicing Jew of that time could use.  They ask for, mutual forgiveness of debts to be taken precisely as erasure of monetary debts as bread and debt are the most serious problems facing Galilean peasants (or any peasant thereafter).   See Crossan 293-294 for his complete discussion.

Following is what Helen Schucman recognized as Jesus’ new version of the Lord’s Prayer.  It begins with a petition which clearly emphasizes basic Course teaching: the world and everything in it is an illusion.

Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions, and where none can ever enter. Our holiness is Yours. What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect? The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love. Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your Will. And let us receive only what You have given, and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love.  Amen  [T-16.VII.12]

I choose to compare the ACIM prayer with the Catholic Douay Biblical Lord’s Prayer, because it’s the one I grew up with.  We can readily see profound differences between it and the prayer Helen transcribed.  Its opening sentence is absolutely singular. On the other hand, the Douay “Who art” is plural; a major difference.  The first sentence in ACIM’s version, “Father, forgive us our illusions and help us to accept our true relationship with you” establishes that we have what we are not accepting; Heaven, “where there are no illusions and none can ever enter.”

Subsequently ACIM’s prayer differs radically from Biblical versions in that “Our Holiness is yours,” acknowledges that God gave us our holiness when he created spirit. Jesus teaches in T-3.V.7.3. “God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own.”  The question, “What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours’ is perfect?” anticipates the Workbook Lesson in Part II.1.1, What is forgiveness?  Its concluding sentences reaffirm Jesus’ new prayer. The pronouns He and His refer to the Holy Spirit.

He has forgiven you already, for such is His function, given Him by God. 3 Now must you share His function, and forgive whom He has saved, whose sinlessness He sees, and whom He honors as the Son of God.  [W.pII.1.5.2-3]

The statement, “The sleep of forgetfulness” refers to our dream of separation. The next clause, “forgiveness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love,” asks us to remember our place in Heaven.  There is nothing about daily bread (which is for illusory bodies), in the new version.  Nor does it mention forgiving debtors which, according to Crossan, in Luke and Matthew refer to worldly debts.

Pertaining to the Biblical prayer I ask, what kind of God would “lead us into temptation,” and then need to “deliver us from evil?” I prefer a God personified by the Course prayer wherein Jesus teaches us to pray, “Let us not wander into temptation” (my emphasis), which shows that we chose that path.  Therefore; we ask God, “Let us not wander…”  In ACIM Jesus uses “wander´ six times prior to his Lord’s Prayer. All six are about of the futility of wandering in this illusion.  For instance, “When you wander, you but undertake a journey that is not real;” [T-11.III.5.4] our belief the illusory world.  There are many other uses of “wander” in the Text and in the workbook.  In the Song of Prayer pamphlet is this hopeful sentence: a fitting conclusion to Jesus’ new Prayer.

You are he your Father loves, who never left his home, nor wandered in a savage world with feet that bleed, and with a heavy heart made hard against the love that is the truth in you. [S.4.III.6.5]

In place of the Biblical payers final “deliver us from evil” the new prayer has this petition: “And let us receive only what You have given…,” teaching us that we need only to open our minds to what God has given us – spirit “of a quality like unto himself.” [T-3.V.7.3]

The new Lord’s Prayer is simple and positive, agreeing with the Course’s simple teaching; we are spirit.  In it we pray to remember and know that we need only to receive God’s gift of Spirit in the minds he created and loves. The new Lord’s Prayer comes almost halfway through the Course, giving us a pivotal concept to lead us through to the end of Jesus’ new teachings.

Following is Jesus’ new prayer in context, preceded by T-16.VII.11 and followed by T-17.I.1. All of these passages are best considered as occurring in the decision maker part of our mind. The prayer is a call for help by us to remember our true reality, our home with God in Heaven.  It offers a series of petitions to keep us from “wandering into temptation,” which is the illusory world of the ego.  Jesus’ new Lord’s Prayer is a means for us to remember we are still within the Mind of God.

T-16.VII.11
Seek and [find] His message in the holy instant, where all illusions are forgiven.  From there the miracle extends to bless everyone and to resolve all problems, be they perceived as great or small, possible or impossible.  There is nothing that will not give place to Him and to His Majesty.  To join in close relationship with Him is to accept relationships as real, and through their reality to give over all illusions for the reality of your relationship with God.  Praise be to your relationship with Him and to no other. The truth lies there and nowhere else. You choose this or nothing.
T-16.VII.12
Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions, and where none can ever enter.  Our holiness is Yours.  What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect?  The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love.  Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your Will.  And let us receive only what You have given, and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love.  Amen.
T-17.I.1
The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his "sins" are but his own imagining.  His reality is forever sinless.  He need not be forgiven but awakened.  In his dreams he has betrayed himself, his brothers and his God.  Yet what is done in dreams has not been really done.  It is impossible to convince the dreamer that this is so, for dreams are what they are [because] of their illusion of reality.  Only in waking is the full release from them, for only then does it become perfectly apparent that they had no effect upon reality at all, and did not change it.  Fantasies change reality. That is their purpose.  They cannot do so in reality, but they [can] do so in the mind that would have reality be different.

The new Lord’s Prayer is formed in the decision maker; the part of our split mind which is connected to the right mind (as opposed to the wrong mind of the ego that keeps us believing the idea that we are separate from God).  This part of our split mind chooses between the ego and the Voice of the Holy Spirit, and remembers where we have never left; eternally at home with God in heaven.