Purpose and Use of the Lord’s Prayer by Christians
The Lord’s Prayer goes by many names including the Our Father, Poster Noster, and the Model Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer has been influential in the spread and understanding of Christianity. The Lord’s Prayer that according to scripture was given to the apostles by Jesus himself and therefore has high importance in many Christian denominations. The purpose and use of the Lord’s Prayer depends heavily on the interpretation and tradition of each individual or denomination.
To understand the Lord’s Prayer one must know where the prayer came from and it meaning. The prayer comes from two sources: Mathew’s gospel and Luke’s Gospel. The two gospels differ in the situation that Jesus gave the prayer to the apostles. In Mathew Jesus gives the apostles the prayer during The Sermon on the Mount and in Luke Jesus gives the apostles the prayer after he finishes praying and one of the apostles ask him to show them how to pray. Some researchers believe that this is because Jesus would have given them the prayer several times through his ministry while skeptics see it as a way to discredit the prayer completely.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia the version used by Catholics today is derived from the version imposed by Henry VIII upon England during the mid 1500’s. The doxology or the last line of the prayer is in Mathew’s gospel but not Luke’s. The doxology is a type of conclusion that may have been added later for group prayer or church. There are at least ten different versions of the doxology in early manuscripts of Matthew before it seems to have standardized. Jewish prayers at the time had doxological endings.
The doxology is just one example of parallels between Jewish prayers and the Lord’s Prayer. In the beginning of the prayer God’s name is hallowed and in the beginning of the Kaddish a Jewish prayer God’s name is hallowed. In both the Kaddish and the Lord’s prayer continue on to express hope that God’s...