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What is the Lord's Prayer?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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The Lord’s Prayer, which is also known as Our Father or Pater noster, is one of the most well-known prayers in the Christian faith. The Lord’s Prayer appears in two different versions in the New Testament of the bible. It appears in both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. It is often incorporated into church services. Furthermore, many families say the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of an evening meal. This is fitting as one of the lines is “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Some Bible scholars believe that the Lord’s Prayer is, in fact, an instruction about how to pray. In this school of thought, The Lord’s Prayer is something to be read and considered, but not to be learned by rote and repeated in prayer. In the context of the Bible, Matthew uses the prayer when speaking out against people that pray in an empty showy manner. He attacks individuals who only pray for posterity. Some believe that he uses the Lord’s Prayer in this discourse to describe how one should pray, not to offer words with which one should pray. Of course, many Christians do not subscribe to this interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer and do use it as part of their spoken prayer.

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Depending on the tradition of the church in which The Lord’s Prayer is being recited, it may be spoken in either Latin or English. The following is The Lord’s Prayer in Latin:

Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur Nomen Tuum;
adveniat Regnum Tuum;
fiat voluntas Tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a Malo.

The most common English translation of The Lord’s Prayer comes from the Anglican Book of the Common Prayer, which was published in 1662. As per that text, The Lord’s Prayer reads as follows:

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

However, The Lord’s Prayer is different in the actual biblical text. In the King James version of Matthew, The Lord’s Prayer appears as such:

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 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. (Matthew 6:9-13)

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