Charles Lamb

10 February 1775 – 27 December 1834 / London

On The Lord's Prayer

I have taught your young lips the good words to say over,
Which form the petition we call the Lord's Prayer,
And now let me help my dear child to discover
The meaning of all the good words that are there.
'Our Father,'-the same appellation is given
To a parent on earth, and the Parent of all-
O gracious permission! the God that's in heaven
Allows his poor creatures him Father to call.
To 'hallow his name,' is to think with devotion
Of it, and with reverence mention the same;
Though you are so young, you should strive for some notion
Of the awe we should feel at the Holy One's name.
His 'will done on earth, as it is done in heaven,'
Is a wish and a hope we are suffered to breathe
That such grace and favour to us may be given,
Like good angels on high we may live here beneath.
'Our daily bread give us,' your young apprehension
May well understand is to pray for our food;
Although we ask bread, and no other thing mention,
God's bounty gives all things sufficient and good.
You pray that your 'trespasses may be forgiven,
As you forgive those that are done unto you.'
Before this you say to the God that's in heaven,
Consider the words which you speak. Are they true?
If any one has in the past time offended
Us angry creatures who soon take offence,
These words in the prayer are surely intended
To soften our minds, and expel wrath from thence.
We pray that 'temptations may never assail us,'
And 'deliverance beg from all evil' we find:
But we never can hope that our prayer will avail us,
If we strive not to banish ill thoughts from our mind.
'For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever:' these titles are meant
To express God's dominion and majesty o'er ye:
And 'Amen' to the sense of the whole gives assent.
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