In John 17 we read the prayer that Yeshua prayed when he was preparing for his death.
Some people call this the “real” Lord’s prayer.
But if that’s true, then what is the one so many Christians recite in church?
Once when his disciples asked him to teach them to pray, (presumably because they saw how powerful his prayers were and wanted to be like that), Yeshua told them to pray a certain way.
If you go to “traditional” Church then you probably say it something like this:
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done
in earth, as it is in heaven:
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that 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.
Why oh why oh why would we believe that we have to pray in 17th century English! Even if we believe that Yeshua meant that we should recite this prayer literally, - he said it in Aramaic or Greek, and so even if we have to be literal, we should at least be translating it into modern English.
The Little Watchman Translation has this translation:
Our father who’s in the heavens,
let your name be regarded as holy.
Let your kingdom come.
Let your will come to be also on the earth as it is in heaven.
Give us our bread, sufficient for each day.
And pardon us for our sins, because we ourselves pardon all who owe us.
And don’t bring us into a trial, but rescue us from the wicked.
Only the version in Matthew 6 has the extra bit on the end about power and glory.
It seems sadly unavoidable that we will have to recite this sometime to keep someone happy who cannot break with their man made tradition. So when you do, … think about it as you pray.
As you pray it, ask yourself some simple questions based on what you’re saying.
Who do you pray to? God the father?
Do you personally regard the name of God, (Yahweh), as holy?
So holy that it must not be misused, or spoken evil of?
Do you, (his child), live as though your father is holy?
Do you really live as though God is your father?
Do you want his kingdom to come?
Are you doing anything to help make that happen?
Ultimately God’s will, (what God wants to happen), will come to be, everywhere.
But are you actively working for it to come to fruition on earth, (where we live)?
As it does in heaven, (where he lives).
Would you be content if God just gave you enough food for today?
Or do you want enough in the bank to have food for a year?
Will you only be satisfied when you own a house, and have good superannuation, and a well paying job, so you have financial security?
Do you remember the story of the man who built bigger barns but whose life was demanded of him?
Are you trusting in God or money?
Your sins are actually pardoned because of what Yeshua did for you 2,000 years ago.
But would you be willing to only have your sins pardoned because you pardon the sins of others? That’s what this is saying. Pardon us because we pardon others.
Or would that leave you guilty and doomed to eternal hell?
Do you think that your sins against God are outweighed by other’s sins against you?
Do you ask God to keep you from trials? From temptations? From evil and from evil beings?
Why? For your own comfort?
Do you think you would survive one?
If this is meant to be a literal prayer that we pray whenever we pray. Then it’s pretty odd that we never read of it being prayed by anyone else in the 30 odd years of church history recorded in the New Testament.
I really don’t believe that is what Yeshua meant.
What do you think of this paraphrase?
Yahweh, God Almighty, the only true God. Our father.
You are holy. Even your name is holy, and it deserves our utmost respect, and to be treated as something incredibly special and sacred.
We want your kingdom to spread out to include the entire earth and all its people. And we will do all we can to help make that happen.
So that your entire will, everything that you want to happen, will come to be, here, exactly as you planned it. Just as it already does in heaven.
We have no desire for expensive houses, or comfortable lazy lives with no need to work.
Please give us enough food for today, and we will be satisfied with that.
We know that our sins are forgiven because of what Jesus has done for us already, but
please also pardon our sins against you, because we pardon every one else’s sins against us. And we don’t hold it against them, no matter what they have said or done against us. Whether they regret it or not, whether they apologise or not. We forgive them. Please also forgive us for all our sins against you.
Please protect us from Satan and his forces. Protect us from wicked people. Teach us to rely only on you to keep us safe and to bring us through, as we undergo all kinds of suffering, trials and hardships, as we live for you here, working for and devoted to expanding your kingdom.
Everything is yours. The kingdom, the power, the glory, the honour. They have always been yours, and always will be yours, even into the next age, when your kingdom is complete and we live and rule with you in eternal peace.