The Lord’s Prayer
Sunday’s Gospel lesson from Luke (click here to read the full lesson) includes a prayer that will sound vaguely familiar:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
It is, of course, quite like the prayer we know as “The Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father.” The version we are familiar with and that is used in worship is actually based on Matthew’s version (click here to read it).
Luke’s version here is a stripped down version. The general assumption is that Luke’s version was written down earlier and that the text of Matthew was slightly expanded. Of course, it could also be that Luke stripped it down, and it could even be, as I think likely, that Jesus taught them this prayer on several occasions (would it make sense that Jesus would have said something so important only once?) and there likely would have been slight variations each time.
The exact story is lost in the mists of history, but the central lesson remains. Jesus has given us a pattern for prayer that begins in acknowledging the awesome wonder of God. We then express our desire that His ways become our ways. We seek His daily provision. We seek forgiveness of our sins as we commit to forgiving others. Finally, we ask that we be spared that which would be too trying for us.
It is not a prayer that is intended to fulfill all our prayer needs, but it is a pattern, and even words, that we can always fall back on when our own words fail us. One of the great blessings of such a prayer is that when we can do nothing else, we have this!
This column appeared in the July 24, 2022 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.