1. ï»¿THE LORD'S PRAYER
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Prayer is the opening of one's heart and soul in a
conversation with God, and
thus is an expression of faith in a relationship
with God. Humility is the
foundation of prayer, as we learn in the parable
of the Pharisee and the tax
collector (Luke 18:9-14). Jesus teaches us to pray:
"All that you ask for in
prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall
be yours" (Mark 11:24).
Prayer at home with the family is the first place
to educate children in
prayer! Forms of prayer include Adoration and
Praise, Petition, Intercession,
and Thanksgiving. There are three kinds of
prayer: Vocal, Meditative, and
Contemplative. Vocal prayer is the form of prayer
in groups, as in Church.
Meditation is a quest to understand the Christian
life, in order to respond to
2. what the Lord is asking. One may meditate on the
Bible or the Rosary or other
holy pursuits. One meditates in order to discern
and come to the light: "Lord,
what do you want me to do?" The Carmelite St.
Teresa of Avila calls
contemplative prayer a "close sharing between
friends," a conversation with God
in our hearts.
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and
throughout the New Testament continues the
tradition of prayer found in Hebrew Scripture,
our Old Testament, exemplified by
the Patriarchs of Israel such as Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, Moses, and David.
Examples of prayer in the Bible are the Psalms,
Matthew 7:7, Matthew 18:20, Luke
9:35, John 17:11, Philippians 4:6, and James
Remember to listen in silence after you pray - you
may receive an answer!
The ideal prayer is the one Christ Jesus taught us,
the Lord's Prayer, the Our
Father (Matthew 6:9-13).
All Christian faiths say the Lord's Prayer.
3. THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Gospel of St. Matthew 6:9-13
4. THE OUR FATHER
In response to his disciples' request "Lord, teach
us to pray," Jesus gives
them the fundamental Christian prayer, the Our
Father, the prayer of hope. Jesus
presents himself as our model, and invites us to
become his disciples and follow
him; in humbling himself, he has given us an
example to imitate. The New
Covenant practices the act of religion: almsgiving,
prayer, and fasting; its
prayer is the "Our Father." "The Lord's Prayer"
means that the prayer to our
Father is taught and given to us by the Lord
Jesus. The Lord's Prayer is
essential to the liturgy of the Church, for it is an
integral part of the
Eucharistic Liturgy, Baptism, and Confirmation.
The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) is truly the
summary of the whole Gospel.
All the Scriptures - the Law, Prophets and Psalms
- are fulfilled in Christ:
5. "These are my words that I spoke to you while I
was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled."
Gospel of St. Luke 24:44
Our Father Who Art in Heaven
We can call God our "Father" because he is
revealed to us by his Son Christ
Jesus who became man. Through Baptism we are
adopted as Children of God. The
free gift of adoption requires on our part
continual conversion and a new life.
Praying to our Father should develop in us two
fundamental dispositions: first,
the desire to become like him, and second, a
humble and trusting heart. "Who art
in heaven" does not mean space but a way of
being, that he is majestic and
transcends everything we can conceive of his
holiness. The Father is in heaven,
his dwelling place, our homeland to which we
aspire. What a blessing to call God
6. The Seven Petitions
After we place ourselves in the presence of God
our Father, there are seven
petitions, the first three theological for the glory
of the Father, which draw
us towards him, and the last four present our
wants to him and commend us to his
grace. The first series of petitions carries us
toward him, for his own sake:
thy name, thy kingdom, thy will. It is
characteristic of love to think first of
the one whom we love. The second series of
petitions are an offering up of our
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The term "to hallow" means to recognize as holy,
to treat in a holy way. St.
Gregory of Nyssa, a Church Father in Cappadocia
in Asia Minor, wrote around 380
AD that "of all good things the most important for
me is that God's name should
be glorified in my life." If we truly hallow the
Father, then we respect him in
our hearts, and so enter into God's plan for us
and our salvation. The
7. sanctification of God's name in the world and our
own salvation depends on our
life and prayer.
Thy Kingdom Come
The Kingdom of God is brought near in the Word
Incarnate, and it has come in
Christ's Last Supper, death and resurrection. The
Kingdom of God is in our midst
in the Eucharist, and will come in glory when
Christ hands it over to his
Father. "Thy kingdom come" in the Lord's Prayer
refers primarily to the final
coming of the reign of God through Christ's
return. This second petition prays
for the growth of the kingdom of God in the
"today" of our lives, bearing the
fruit of new life in the Eight Beatitudes of Jesus.
Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven
St. Ignatius of Antioch, in his Letter to the
Ephesians 7:2, was the first
Apostolic father to refer to Jesus Christ as the
Physician. St. Gregory of Nyssa
8. continues this concept in his sermon on this
phrase: "Therefore the true
Physician of the diseases of the soul, who shared
the life of man for the sake
of those who were sick, gradually weakens the
cause of disease through the
thoughts contained in the prayer and so restores
us to spiritual health." When
we say thy will be done, we ask that God's will be
done within us, to offset our
weak nature, a nature given to concupiscence and
God's expression of his will is the commandment
that "you love one another,
even as I have loved you" (John 13:34). This
commandment summarizes all the
others and expresses his entire will. We ask for
God's loving plan to be fully
realized on earth as it already is in heaven.
Through prayer we can discern what
is the will of God and obtain the endurance to do
it. May we learn obedience!
Give us this Day our daily Bread
The Greek language has the Imperative of
Entreaty expressed in all of these
9. petitions; in other words, the word please is
implied. "Give us" expresses in
communion with our brethren our filial trust in
our heavenly Father and the
covenant between the Father and all men. The
Father who gives us life gives us
"our bread," the nourishment life requires, both
material and spiritual. The
presence of world hunger calls Christians to
exercise responsibility and justice
for the poor, to share with love our spiritual and
material goods. This
petition also addresses the spiritual famine of the
world, and the Christian is
to proclaim the good news to the poor, the Bread
of Life: the Body of Christ
received in the Eucharist.
Gregory of Nyssa points out that this expression is
full of meaning: "For you
should learn through what you say that the
human life is but the life of a day.
Only the present each one of us can call his own;
the hope of the future is
unknown, for we know not what the day to come
may bring forth."
10. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
In this petition we return to Him as a prodigal
son and begin our confession as
sinners and need of mercy. Our hope is firm, for
in his Son we have redemption,
the forgiveness of sins. There is a condition here:
this mercy can only fill our
hearts if we have forgiven those who have
trespassed against us! Remember the
verses that follow the Our Father in Matthew:
"For if you forgive men their
trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive
you. But if you do not
forgive men their trespasses, neither will your
Father forgive your trespasses"
(Matthew 6:14-15). Pope John Paul II reminds
us: "Forgiveness is the key to
And lead us not into temptation
This petition asks God not to allow us to take the
path that leads to sin. This
petition implores the Spirit for discernment and
strength in the battle between
11. flesh and spirit. The Holy Spirit makes us discern
between trials, necessary for
the growth of the inner man, and temptation,
which leads to sin and death.
Discernment unmasks the lie of temptation. This
petition also requests the grace
of vigilance and final perseverance.
But deliver us from evil
This last petition to our Father is included in the
prayer of Jesus, and we
pray in communion with the Church for the
deliverance of the whole human family.
Evil is not an abstraction but a person, satan, the
evil one, the deceiver of
the world. Victory over the prince of this world
was won once and for all at the
Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death
to give us his life. Along with
the deliverance from the evils that overwhelm
humanity, the Church implores the
precious gift of peace and the grace of
perseverance in expectation of Christ's
12. For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the
Glory, now and forever. Amen.
Early manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew do
not contain this phrase, but it
is found in the Catholic Mass or Divine Liturgy
and in the King James Bible of
1611. Known as the final doxology, it takes up the
first three petitions to our
Father. By the final "Amen," which means "So be
it," we ratify what is contained
in the prayer that God has taught us.
1 The Navarre Revised Standard Version of The
Holy Bible. Four Courts Press,
Dublin, Ireland, 1999-2005.
2 Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second
Edition. Libreria Editrice Vaticana,
US Catholic Conference, Washington, D. C., 2000.
3 St. Gregory of Nyssa. The Lord's Prayer and The
Beatitudes. Ancient Christian
Writer Series, Paulist Press, Mahwah, New
4 St. Ignatius of Antioch. Seven Epistles, in The
Apostolic Fathers, Volume I,
13. Harvard University Press, Cambridge,
5 St. Augustine. The Lord's Sermon on the Mount.
Written 393-396. Ancient
Christian Writer Series, Paulist Press, Mahwah,
6 Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus of
Nazareth. Doubleday, New York,
7 Mounce WD. Basics of Biblical Greek.
Grammar and Workbook, Third Edition.
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2009.
8 Aland B, Aland K, Karavidopoulos J, Martini
CM, Metzger B. The Greek New
Testament, Fourth Revised Edition. United Bible
Societies, New York, 1993.