Traditional (from Common Worship)

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.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Jesus requires us to address God Almighty as Father. This was a term Jesus used when he talked about his relationship with the One who’d sent him. Jesus’ disciples (it was one of the disciples in Luke’s account who’d asked Jesus for help in how to pray) would not have the right to call God Father. It was not until Jesus’ death and resurrection that we could come into sonship and call God Father.

We pray this prayer to Father God, the Almighty, the I Am, the Lord. If all you ever manage to say in this prayer are those first two words you have done well. God’s name is more than just a handle. God’s name is an expression of who he is.

God is resident in heaven. Heaven is more a state of being than a place in the sky. We see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12) and have somewhat restricted ideas about heaven. We might content ourselves with the description of heaven as from where God reigns.

The traditional text uses thy and thine. Some people would say that the use of words like these helps to take God out of the wordly and into a special place. It has been suggested that using these older forms is more respectful to God. The odd thing is that they are actually familiar forms, words that are reserved for use with close friends and family. The German du and dein (thou and thine come from a similar root) are used in this way, and the more formal Sie and ihr are not unlike the way we’d address a noble in the third person (“Your majesty is right”).

So, the traditional version is demonstrably more intimate than the contemporary versions!

The first word in the Lord’s Prayer is “our”. Is the Lord’s Prayer a prayer designed for individuals or for congregations to pray?

How does the Lord’s Prayer sound if you start it with “My Father, …”?

Does God remain in heaven, only to be addressed there?

Next section