Previous Page:Traditional Prayer
The words to The Our Father Prayer are as follows:
Is the Our Father a biblical prayer?
Yes, it is for the most part. But see the note below about the Doxology.
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:
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.
The doxology is the last part of the Our Father.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The doxology does not appear in the Bible.
In the Catholic tradition the prayer is said without the doxology when said in private.
Doxology is a generic term for a short hymn of praise ( I love that!). But, in practice, if people know the word doxology they understand it to mean this short addition to the Our Father prayer.
Although the doxology doesn't come from the Bible, the words echo those of 1 Chronicles 29:11
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendour,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
(1 Chronicles 29:11, NIV Bible quote)
Now that truly is a short hymn of praise!
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 the people in our ever-changing world.
The emphasis of the prayer is on our relationship with God as Father. This is a relationship we share with Jesus and with all others, so the prayer itself is an affirmation of our Oneness in God - we are all family - brothers and sisters.
A further breakdown of the prayer, Our Father, reveals a message about the importance of forgiveness.
The prayer says that God’s forgiveness of us is dependent upon our forgiveness of others.
My interpretation is that forgiveness by God is already given. In fact forgiveness by God is not even required because God is love and does not condemn.
However, God's unconditional love is beyond our comprehension. It is only when we forgive the other person we come to understand and receive the love and forgiveness of God which waits for us.
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.
The Our Father prayer is said by all Christian denominations. It is a
powerful symbol of the Christian unity so many Christians aspire to.