Previous Page:Traditional Prayer
The words to The Our Father Prayer are as follows:
The Our Father Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And lead us not into temptation,
For thine is the kingdom,
The Our Father Prayer appears in the Gospels of Matthew 6:9 and Luke 11:2. in the Bible.
Mark 11:25 does not give the complete prayer, but it does include a similar section explaining the importance of forgiveness:
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any:
that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
The Our Father is the prayer that Jesus gives when asked by the Disciples:
“Lord, teach us to pray.”
The Our Father prayer is also known as the Lord’s Prayer.
There could be two explanations for this name.
1. Jesus tells us to pray this prayer. Jesus is often referred to in the Christian tradition as Lord.
2. God the Father, the 'I Am' is known as Lord and this is a prayer to the Father, to the Lord.
I grew up calling the prayer the Our Father and I love this name.
The name emphasises for me the Father aspect of God.
My interpretation is that the Our Father prayer speaks of the protection, availability and strength of God.
The meaning of the prayer is to encourage us to be vulnerable and needy with God in a way that is natural in the relationship of a child with its parent.
It encourages us to cultivate a relationship of dependency on a God who is far more reliable than any earthly father. This, in turn, allows us to become less and less dependent on those in this changing world.
The emphasis of the prayer is on our relationship with God as Father – a relationship we share with Jesus.
A further breakdown of the Our Father reveals a message about the importance of the practice of forgiveness.
The prayer says that God’s forgiveness of us is dependent upon our forgiveness of others.
This really lets us know how important it is for us to forgive.
My interpretation is that forgiveness by God is already given, but we only understand and receive this love and forgiveness when we forgive the other.
See the page on Prayer For Forgiveness for more on this topic of God and forgiveness.
My interpretation is that the Our Father recognises both our physical and spiritual reality and the needs that result.
We can take the line:
“Give us this day our daily bread” to affirm our belief that God or our belief in God allows us to be provided for in a very physical and practical way.
In Matthew’s gospel, the Our Father prayer is
preceded by the statement that God knows what you need before you ask,
underlining the idea that we can trust God to provide for all our physical needs.
When we pray “Thy will be done” we are expressing a
willingness for God to work in our mind and in the physical world to
allow us to experience physical changes.
We are calling for a reality where God is in charge and the earth is transformed into heaven.
We speak as though this will happen at some future time.
This speaks of a physical reality of time and space.
Then, if we include the doxology, we go on to pray:
“Thine is the kingdom.”
“Thine is the kingdom.”
This is very powerful to me.
Not was the kingdom.
Not will be the kingdom.
“Thine is the kingdom.”
The meaning here is that God’s kingdom is an ever present reality.
Right NOW in the present moment, God's kingdom is present.
To pray the Our Father is to invite God to work in my mind to allow me to drop through the junk into an experience of the reality of His love.
The meaning of the Our Father is that, as we say it, we claim our daily food – both physical and spiritual.
It was such an important turning point when I recognised:
I do not know what is best for me.
I need guidance.
I need my decisions to be made by the energy that unites all things because only then will I make a decision that is to the benefit of all.
In the Our Father we express the willingness to let God decide for us.
We surrender our own expectations about how the situation should be or should turn out:
Thy will be done, we say.
Thy Will Be Done
Thy will be done
And it feels like a sacrifice –
giving your life
to one who doesn’t know
what’s best for you,
Until slowly you become
And more than this:
that all along your will
has been His.
Thy kingdom come, you say.
Thy will be done.
© Katherine T Owen
Other spiritual poems by the author on this site
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The Our Father prayer is said by all Christian denominations. It is a powerful symbol of the Christian unity so many Christians aspire to.
In a discussion on the power of praying a traditional prayer, I talk more about what the Our Father prayer means to me.
Return to a list of daily prayers.
Move from The Our Father prayer to the next page –
The Hail Mary Prayer.
Return to the Contents List for What Is Prayer?
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For 14 years, Katherine was severely disabled with CFS/ME, unable to walk, with little speech, and with inadequate care.
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