Our Father

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.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


We join hands and say the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be for the intentions of the Holy Father at the end of every session.

What does it mean?

We find in Matthew 6:5-14 Jesus' teaching to his disciples about prayer. We also find this prayer set within that passage as an example to us of how to pray. We find as we examine the prayer that it has five distinct themes.

Our Father: In the first theme, we praise God. We call God Father, just as Jesus did, since through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and through our relationship with Jesus, we are daughters and sons of God.

Who art in heaven: God considers us his children, and cares for us as a loving parent. We are made to be with Him in heaven.

Hallowed be thy name: This means "Holy is your name, " or "Your name is to be kept holy." We praise God's name because of His love for us, and because He created us for Himself.

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven: Since we know that everything God wants is good for us, we ask for God's will to be done here on earth, just as we know it is done in heaven. In saying "Thy will be done" we are not only saying that God should do His will in the earth, but also that we should do God's will in the earth. The ancient form of English we are using carries this double meaning in a way that is difficult to express in modern English. "Thy" is a very personal singular pronoun, much more intimate than the all-purpose "your" that we use today; it signifies a particular individual. The word "your" can be used in this way also, but by using "thy" our meaning is very clear. By using "be" in that particular position in the sentence, without any adverb, we indicate a dual meaning - one that would be lost if we were to say "Do your will" or "Your will is to be done".

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us: Here we have two distinct ideas expressed in the same sentence, and we are tempted to assume that incorrect language is being employed here. After all, forgiveness of sins and daily bread don't seem to have much in common.

Have you ever sat down to a meal with your parents, knowing you have done something that will make them angry when they find out about it?

It is very difficult to eat when you have a guilty concience, isn't it? So we ask God for daily bread, and in the same breath we ask for His forgiveness, so that we can then enjoy our meal wiht a clear concience. We also ask God to forgive us as we have forgiven those who trespass against us, or in other translations, those who are in our debt, or those who have sinned against us.

"Trespass" is an interesting choice of word in this particular translation, which is the one most familiar to us. To trespass is to go on to private property without permission. This seems pretty minor, but it reminds us that even the most minor sins can hurt people's feelings, break friendships, and even possibly lead to bigger problems. So we ask God to forgive all of our sins, even our little ones, in the same way that we forgive the sins, both large and small, of those who trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: Why do we need to ask God not to lead us into temptation? Surely He knows how fragile we are! But sometimes we feel that life is going entirely in the wrong direction, and our choices seem to be between a bad thing and something worse.

We are asking God to help us avoid these situations, and we pray from the way it feels to us, not from the way we think God sees it. God has already provided a way out of every bad situation, and when we find ourselves in these situations, our number one job is to find the solution that God has provided.

Amen: "So be it," or "It is certainly so."

We all want to pray, but we often find ourselves "stuck for words". The Lord's Prayer is the ideal prayer to use in these situations, since it covers every topic that we could want to discuss with God, our loving Father in Heaven. As you pray it through, think about your own relationship with God. How is He providing daily bread for you? How does He deliver you from evil each day?

I once heard a woman say that God had delivered her from evil by making sure she developed strong faith as a young teenager. Thus, she was "saved" from pregnancy and disease, because she kept herself pure. She was "saved" from alcohol, smoking,and drugs because she valued her body as a temple of God, and never poisoned it with these things.

My prayer is that you will be saved like her, rather than like those who have to learn everything the hard way.

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