Lord's Prayer


TitleLord's Prayer
Publication TypeEncyclopedia Entry
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsBergin, Sue
Secondary AuthorsLudlow, Daniel H.
Secondary TitleEncyclopedia of Mormonism
Volume2
Pagination844-845
PublisherMacmillan
Place PublishedNew York
KeywordsJesus Christ; Lord's Prayer; Pattern; Prayer; Sermon at the Temple; Sermon on the Mount
URLhttp://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Lord%27s_Prayer
Citation Key495

Lord's Prayer

Author: Bergin, Sue

Latter-day Saints regard the Lord's Prayer, which appears twice in the New Testament and once in the Book of Mormon (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4; 3 Ne. 13:9-13), as a guide for all prayer, whether public or private. The three versions teach similar principles but are not identical. The Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible clarifies some phrases in the biblical texts.

Luke gives a version of the Lord's Prayer after Jesus was asked by his disciples to "teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). In the sermons recounted in Matthew and in the Book of Mormon, Jesus introduces the prayer by first cautioning his listeners to avoid "vain repetitions" and to pray "after this manner," indicating that the prayer is meant as a pattern.

All versions of the Lord's Prayer open with the salutation "Our Father," which implies a close and abiding relationship between God and human beings, his spirit children, and sets the pattern of addressing prayers to God the Father.

The salutation is followed by the phrase "hallowed be thy name," which exemplifies respect and a worshipful attitude appropriate to the holy nature of prayer. Then, after expressing hope for the divine kingdom to come, the Savior submits his will to God's with the words "thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10), exemplifying another important component of prayer.

After setting a proper context for prayer, Christ makes his first request-for "daily bread." When regarded as a model for prayer, this phrase can be seen as supplication for both temporal necessities and spiritual food. Christ's second request, that God "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matt. 6:12 and 3Ne. 13:11), appears in Luke as "forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us" (Luke 11:4). An important element in personal prayer is acknowledging and asking forgiveness for one's sins, but always in conjunction with forgiving the offenses of others (cf. D&C 64:10).

The texts then include a phrase that is perhaps the most difficult to understand in most common translations of the Lord's Prayer-"lead us not into temptation," which could be read to imply that God might influence toward evil unless implored to do otherwise. This problem is resolved in the JST, which reads, "And suffer us not to be led into temptation" (JST Matt. 6:14; cf. the Syriac translation; see also James 1:13). Christ's purpose appears to be to inspire mortals to ask daily for God's help as they try to resist evil and to live purely.

In closing the prayer, Christ again acknowledges God's power and glory and then ends with "Amen," as do all LDS prayers. (On the long ending of the Lord's Prayer, cf. Welch, 1990, pp. 157-60).

By praying with their personal heartfelt feelings "after this manner," rather than reciting the Lord's Prayer as a memorized piece, Latter-day Saints seek to find true communion with God the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ. [See also Sermon on the Mount.]

Bibliography

Welch, John W. "The Lord's Prayers." Ensign 6 (Jan. 1976):14-17.

Welch, John W. The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount. Salt Lake City, 1990.

SUE BERGIN

 

Scripture Reference

3 Nephi 13:9-13
Matthew 6:9-13
Luke 11:2-4