The Lord’s Prayer
When the disciples asked Jesus for a Prayer 101 course, he taught them what we now call “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Have you ever wondered, How should I pray? Jesus’ disciples wondered too—so much so that when Jesus returned from praying one day, one of the disciples said, “We want to know how to pray. Please teach us.” And Jesus did.
The words Jesus spoke are known by many as “The Lord’s Prayer.” This prayer is recorded twice in scripture: Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4. The words of The Lord’s Prayer that you learned may be slightly different from those other people learned and may be a bit different than the words recorded in either of the gospels. Jesus was not concerned about the precise wording of the prayer. Jesus was offering us examples and suggesting that when we come before God, the content of our hearts and minds should include humbleness, praise, thankfulness, petition, and confession.
Read The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9–13 or Luke 11:2–4. Then read the ecumenical version printed below in bold and reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ words as you read the contemporary prayer that follows each section.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Father, you live in heaven, and we live on earth. You’re the Creator,
and we are the creation. Your name is holy, and we will honor you.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Your timing is perfect; and we desire your will and your ways to be realized in our lives,
not just someday in heaven but today on earth.
Give us today our daily bread.
God, you provided bread for the Israelites when they were wandering in the desert.
Please meet our basic needs, as we trust you to provide for us each day.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
You know we struggle with sin. We are imperfect, and we need your strength.
Forgive us as we strive to forgive those who commit acts of sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
When difficult situations come up and we are lured away from what is right,
protect our minds, hearts, and bodies so that we don’t give in but walk away from temptation,
holding tightly to the truth.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.
We know that all things are in your control and within your power,
and so we offer you praise, O God. Amen.
—Kate Elise Gutierrez, 24
I used to believe that prayer was a time to close my eyes and to ask God to give me what I wanted. My prayers were only about me and the people I loved. As I learned The Lord’s Prayer, God transformed prayer into a time when I humbled myself, acknowledging God’s will over mine. I began to understand prayer as a time to forget about my wants and to consider the needs of others and of the community of faith. Read The Lord’s Prayer again and notice how many times you say the words your, our, we, and us. Ask God to transform your prayer life.
—Dale Lipscomb, 20
—from devozine (January/February 2011). Copyright © 2010 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.