The Lord’s Prayer: YOUR Couple of Hallowed Observations

The Lords Prayer or La Pater Noster, by James Tissot. Circa 1890. Brooklyn Museum.

The Lord’s Prayer: YOUR Couple of Hallowed Observations
Matt 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4

We’d like to share a couple of thoughts regarding the Lord’s Prayer. One is something we picked up from a church pastor long ago, and the other is something we read recently in one of R.C. Sproul’s wonderful books.

The first is a matter of emphasis. It is the suggested practice of emphasizing the power and primacy of God in the Lord’s Prayer by emphasizing the word “your.” Father God, it is YOUR kingdom, YOUR power, YOUR glory, and so on.

The second is a matter of (mis-)understanding the words and meaning. It is the recognition that “hallowed be” does not mean “hallowed is” or “holy is” but does instead mean “please make everybody recognize the hallowedness or holiness of you and your name.” It is not a descriptive phrase, but an imploring phrase.

We picked up the latter in R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God. We suggest that if one takes a break from reading the actual Bible for oneself, one should read and listen to the late R.C. Sproul as often as possible.

The first was picked up during a sermon by a Methodist pastor, and we’ve employed it ever since in personal prayer and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.

The Bible Bits version goes something like this:

Oh Father in heaven:
Holy and great and awesome is YOUR name
Please let YOUR kingdom come
Hurry up please, and make YOUR will be done
Right here [insert your town, community, building, house, street, corner, room]
Just as it is in heaven
Give me (and my family) today please (though I don’t deserve it) YOUR daily delivery of manna: food, shelter, temporal well-being
Forgive me. Forgive me of my sins against you and your will. I do not deserve it, but thank YOU.
And I do and will forgive others. At least I will try.
Lead me away from sin and temptation.
Deliver me from aweful evil.
For it is YOUR kingdom and YOUR power and YOUR glory.
Forever. Eternally.
Let it be please.

Note the emphasis on God with YOUR and YOUR and YOUR. When you recite this out loud or in your head, hit these words hard.

Note also the connection of wandering Egyptian exodus manna and the dailiness of our daily bread. Bread for today. Not a surplus for tomorrow. Today. Just today. We are sheep belonging to God, without a barn or silo or other storage building. Or any responsible future planning. God leads us to fresh pasture today. Manna for the day. Daily bread.

Instead of a vague “on earth, just as it in in heaven” we pray for a real revival in real space and real time at a specific, narrowly located real space. “Earth” is too vague. If you are sitting in Starbucks, pray that God’s kingdom comes to the five persons you see sitting in Starbucks, right here and right now. Real, specific persons and place. If not today, then next Thursday afternoon. Please God, do this.

But our translation above of “Holy and great and awesome is YOUR name” above gets it wrong. This line is not a declaration of fact. It is not “hallowed is your name.” It is instead supposed to be an asking for your neighbors and friends and citizens around you come to know and understand the holiness of God and holiness of His Name. “Hallowed be your name” is actually “let everybody hallow your name.” Let that guy sitting over there on his laptop hallow your name. Please God, do this.

And so instead we should pray:

Oh Father in heaven:
Let everybody recognize your holiness and your holy name
Let Joe next door and the people here in [town, street, place] come to recognize your holy name and call you your name with reverential holiness

This is consistent with the following line:

and, while you are at it God…
Let your kingdom come. Come right here. Come right here into Starbucks. And to this corner of Main and Oak streets in those houses over there I see out the window.

And, by the way, we have always been uneasy with the “hallowed be” line because we have never understood what the word “hallowed” means. So that will be the subject of some future Bible Bit. 🙂

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The actual Bible provides what we call the Lord’s Prayer in two places: the gospels of Luke and Matthew. Matthew’s is a bit longer. And therefore, Luke’s is a bit shorter.

Here they are in a handful of translations:

Matthew 6:9-13, KJV: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Luke 11:2-4, KJV: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Matthew 6:9-13, NASB: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

Luke 11:2-4, NASB: And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 3 ‘Give us each day our daily bread. 4 ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'”

Matthew 6:9-13, ESV: Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Luke 11:2-4, ESV: And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread, 4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Matthew 6:9-13, NET: So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored, 10 may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Luke 11:2-4, NET: So he said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, may your name be honored; may your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread, 4 and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And do not lead us into temptation.”

Matthew 6:9-13, J.P. Green Literal: So, then, you should pray this way: Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as it is in Heaven, also on the earth. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory to the ages. Amen.

Luke 11:2-4, J.P. Green Literal: And He said to them: When you pray, say, Our Father who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done on earth as it also is in Heaven. Give us our needed bread day by day; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil.

Matthew 6:9-13, NRSV: “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

Luke 11:2-4, NRSV: He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

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May God bless you today with HIS grace and mercy and goodness!

Please read the actual Bible for yourself.

If you reply to this post, please include scripture passages and good commentary from good writers.

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