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The Lord’s Prayer – What it Really Means in Recovery



To read Emmet Fox’s treatise on The Lord’s Prayer, click the link above. You can also right-click and Save to your hard drive to read later. Acrobat Reader is required.

The reason I’m putting this up is because I was recently thinking about this prayer and what it means to me. This is after I kind of got in trouble the other day at the end of an AA meeting for requesting that we do the Lord’s Prayer instead of the Serenity Prayer. Someone was upset that I went against the group conscience and got confrontational with me about it. Then my friend the secretary said she hated the Lord’s Prayer because it’s patriarchical and guilt inducing. So it made me think about the prayer and my history with it as a spirtual device.

Since I have had this book, Power Through Constructive Thinking by Emmet Fox for many years, a scanner and Acrobat, I decided to scan it and post a blog entry on it this morning. My history with it is this: back in about 1986 I participated in a couple of 3 month long weekly discussion groups on Emmet Fox’s The Sermon on the Mount and The Lord’s Prayer with a guy who had known Emmet Fox in the 40’s. His name was Dan Crouch and at the time he had 38 years of sobriety. So he taught us how to interpret this kind of what I call metaphysical Christianity in the context of AAs 12 steps. It was a fascinating, life changing adventure to go through this with program people.

What I learned was that if you look past the historical language, the distorted interpretations of theocratic institutions, the babbling of Bible thumping idiots… you can see that there is a lot of cool shit going on in some of the Bible in general, and in everything that Jesus said. Now I’ve been practicing Buddhism for a long time, and have never, ever considered myself a ‘Christian’. As a matter of fact, I almost died at the hands of the Southern Baptist freakazoids in Texas (ok, it wasn’t all their fault). But I don’t think these people understand, in general, anything of a spiritual nature. Thier perspective is pretty sick. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing of value in things like The Lord’s Prayer.

For example, in terms of blaming or fearing God. The author says that ‘the same fountain cannot send forth both sweet and bitter water”. This view, that ‘God’ can’t send bad stuff to us, because ‘His’ nature is goodness, kind of fits in with the idea of intrinsic Buddha Nature, which purports that we are all enlightened beings. But we’re ASLEEP to that knowledge. Interesting! Also, the main Buddhist teaching on Karma works with this idea, that WE are responsible for our experiences in life. In AA we say, “we realized that we put ourselves in a position to be hurt”. I always think of it in the mirror of that, namely that we can also put ourselves in a position to be not hurt, or in the Feng Shui, the flow, the stream of life. Our friend Noah talks about going ‘against the stream’ but I think he’s just looking for an exuse to retain a punker’s rebellious attitude. It doesn’t look that good on a 35 year old, IMHO! My sponsor says that ‘rebellion is BORING’. But, I have to confess, I am a shit stirring mother-effer. I’m really working on it, but man, people need to be set straight. Wait, did I digress? Oh yeah, the Integration of Metaphysical Christianity with Intrinsic Buddha Nature of the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma in the context of Recovery within AA’s Twelve Steps.

So I invite you to read this .PDF with an open mind. Try to relate it to your own experiences\ religious beliefs\spiritual journey\recovery. Look past the ‘Thou Shalts’ , ‘His’es and other male, Biblical language to the deeper layer of meaning. Post up here what you think after you read it if you like. If you hate it and it makes your skin crawl with visions of nuns chasing you with rulers…feel free to expound on that. If you see parallels or contradictions with Buddhist Thought, I would welcome a comment to that effect. At least just read it and think about it. Maybe the next time you hear the Lord’s Prayer, you won’t wretch. As much. (-:

may you be free of suffering, and the root of suffering


PS, in the teachings the root of suffering is said to be ignorance.

How many Buddhas do you give this article?


5 comments to The Lord’s Prayer – What it Really Means in Recovery

  • lucyb

    Holy buddha! You are hilarious, man! Keep it coming!

  • LoriR

    You made some good points about looking further for the actual meaning of the recitation. It’s true that my experiences with so-called Christians (as opposed to those who truly do try to live by what Jesus taught) has tainted my view on the organized religion as a whole.
    What bothers me most, I suppose, is the presumptuous nature of many who just ASSUME that others believe as they do, not necessary just the “Christian” aspect of the prayer. In fact one of my all-time favorite recitations is Psalm 23, which I’ve always condisdered a very beautiful poem.
    All that aside, the sentiments in the Lord’s Prayer (thy will, not mine; forgive others who do me wrong; be grateful for my blessings) are ideas I can appreciate as an addict, a practicing Buddhist, and a human being.

  • Sometimes we can feel the pretentiousness in the air. We have one group here that is at a Bible Church, but might as well BE the Bible Church. But really, with my Buddhadharma practice, I know what the essence of my recovery is and these people don’t bother me anymore.

    As Venerable Robina says, we look at our own minds. This is conducive to the steps as well. It’s none of my business what other people assume. And even if I do know that they’re judgmental, we have practices for that as well. In Buddhism, we also have a wrench to fit every nut, just like in the 12-Steps. Sometimes I just have to use my Buddhist tools on the issues I have in 12-Step groups. And then when I’m in a Buddhist group predicamen (in my head) I can apply something from the 12 Steps.

    Keep coming back.


  • jomo

    There is one incontrovertible fact as to why the lords prayer should not be used in an AA meeting – it is a blatant contradiction of the Traditions. AA has no opinion on outside issues … is allied with no sect ,denomination or politics. If your group conscience votes to use the prayer, then, to quote Bill W. ( regarding the pushing through of personal or religious agendas in AA ) ” the group conscience has not spoken “.

  • Tributary56

    i absolutely agree with the pitfalls of organized religion,
    but i also think that we have to be careful not to judge or
    demean what anyone else may believe, as we then become just
    as judgemental as we accuse them of being…. My biggest dislike of organized religion is their notion that they must
    convert you to “right” thinking…. So i allow them their beliefs, and I continue with mine…. As for Emmet Fox…
    HIs teachings were instrumental in my sobriety… I was also
    fortunate to have a “metaphysically minded father”!

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