It is really the universal prayer. Utterly beautiful in its simplicity, it is almost Zen like in its spareness and conciseness.
Only ten lines, and yet it covers everything that needs to be said.
There is no schmoozing, no fake piousness, no need to say “How great thou art.”
No need, of course, to blare it into every neighborhood.
No need to let anyone know you’re praying. (But of course if you have more sinister intentions in your heart, it’s always useful to proclaim your piousness to the world first before you carry out those intentions.)
And the beauty is, you can say it anywhere you like, whenever you feel like saying it.
Here’s a little analysis of this most elegant of prayers.
First it acknowledges the Creator. (If you don’t believe in a Creator, you can skip this part. I don’t believe that the Creator will be hurt if you do not acknowledge His existence. [It is my belief that He is not burdened with any human vanity.])
And it acknowledges that all things in the Universe ultimately rest in his Hands.
Then it addresses our physical needs, something as mundane as putting food on the table, and it does this in one line!
The next part touches on our spiritual needs—cleanse our hearts of all toxicity, against ourselves and against others. (How do we achieve this? Through forgiveness.)
Then it ends simply by asking that we be kept from harm and evil.
(Evil here refers to anything that will downshift our reality.)
Who can argue with the sentiments expressed in these few lines?
(Well, maybe those whose idea of prayer is that it should be done a fixed number of times a day and facing a certain geographical direction.)
For the rest of us, it says everything that needs to be said.