The Lord’s Prayer
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 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.”
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Observations and Reflections
Luke’s version of the Lord’s prayer is slightly shorter than Matthew’s versions. (Table Source). It’s even shorter if the KJV version (from the Byzantine manuscripts) is included. The differences between the two versions are quite interesting. Only Matthew references the “evil one”. Matthew also includes the petition “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” On the matter of who the “evil one” is referring to, it would appear that it’s a reference to the devil, however, western church tradition has always held the translation of just evil. Most people grew up saying “deliver us from evil.”
The change from “the evil one” to “evil” appears to have happened during the Latin age of the church where a direct Latin translation was not readily available due to the lack of a definite article (the).
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
* Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
* but rescue us from the evil one.
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.
The missing portion from the KJV version that is at the end of Matthew’s prayer is refereed to as the Doxology. The doxology is missing from virtually all newer Bibles, as it is not believed to be part of the original manuscripts. Some translations that omit the doxology are the NLT, ESV, NIV, NRSV, NASB, CEV, and many others. However, the NKJV retains the doxology verse. Some translations like the HCSB has the doxology but only in brackets to indicated that early manuscripts do not include this verse. The text of the doxology are below for reference.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13b)
The oldest Greek manuscript that includes this passage is the Codex Washingtonensis which is from no earlier than the 4th century. We can get a window for the date because the Greek scripts is in Uncials which were used after the 4th century. However, the Uncials were replaced largely my Minuscules in the 9th century onward. There are other ways of narrowing down the date range but would not be beneficial to the discussion.
Outside of this single manuscript, this doxology appears nowhere in manuscript tradition. It’s not quoted by church fathers, or by prayer prayer books, or by liturgical books, or other translations. Therefore, it is difficult to understand why anyone would argue for keeping this verse in the modern translations since there is no evidence for it’s authenticity.
Prayer is an integral part of the Christian life. It is the few ways in which we can communicate with God and show that we fully trust Him with our lives and present circumstances. It is also a time in which we can truly thank and praise Him for all that He has done, yet to do and ask to be drawn closer to Him.
Jesus not only teaches us how to pray but points out how much our heavenly Father seeks to hear our prayers. God invites us to come to Him with our requests and trust that He does not withhold any good thing from us. He also knows whats best for us and will not give us anything that He knows will be harmful in the long run.
God is wise and loving when it comes to answering our requests. He knows what our hearts and lives need and will answer us according to what He knows to be the very best for our lives. When it comes to prayer, we are called to pray with a heart that is filled with thanksgiving, trust and faith. Let us fully surrender our requests to the one who can answer us and will never leave us wandering or confused. We serve a loving God who is constantly at work to show us how much He loves and that He has amazing things in store for us. Trust that He hears your prayers and will lovingly answer them in His way.
[Featured image called the “Last Supper”, from the Maesta by Duccio, 1308-1311]