The Lord's Prayer (sometimes known by its first two Latin words as the Pater Noster, in Greek as the Πάτερ ἡμῶν, or the English equivalent Our Father) is probably the best-known prayer in Christianity.

According to the New Testament, the prayer was given by Jesus of Nazareth as a response to a request from the Apostles for guidance on how to pray.

The prayer is excerpted from the book of Matthew Matthew 6:9-13), where it appears as part of the Sermon on the Mount. A similar prayer is found in Luke 11:2-4. Luke's version does not begin "Our Father in Heaven," but rather simply with "Father" (which would be Abba in Aramaic).

Most Christian theologians argue that Jesus would have never used this prayer himself, for it specifically asks for forgiveness of sins (or more literally for cancellation of debts), and in most schools of Christian thought, Christ never sinned. However since it says "forgive us our debts", not "forgive me my debts", some claim that Christ might have prayed it by way of identifying himself with the common plight of man and of asking for the forgiveness of the sins of his disciples.

The doxology (For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.) was probably not present in the original version of the prayer, but rather was added to the Gospels as a result of its use in the liturgy of the early church. For this reason, it is not included in many modern translations.

There is also a theory among some Christian theologians who have studied ancient Jewish history and ancient Jewish theology that the Lord's Prayer wasn't meant to be used as a prayer in and unto itself. In the book of Matthew of the New Testament, Jesus is quoted, on the Sermon on the Mount, as having spoken of the way some people tried to receive the reputation of being highly righteous people by praying long prayers. The prayers included exaggerated facial expressions that were made, loud pronouncments for passersby to hear, and expensive clothing to gather attention of those who passed by. In the process, it is also believed, those who prayed in such a manner also attempted to gain favor with God through their actions. The Lord's Prayer, according the theologians who studied ancient Judaism, was an example of how to pray to God through humility, respect, and sincerity.

The text of the Lord's PrayerEdit

Although Jesus would, most probably, have taught the prayer in Aramaic, the earliest texts we have are in Greek. As Latin was the dominant language of Western Christianity, the Paternoster, the prayer in Latin, is an important translation of the Greek prayer.

See The Lord's Prayer at International Wikisource] for the Lord's Prayer in other languages.


Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφελήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ Ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας· ἀμήν.


Pater hēmōn, ho en tois ouranois
hagiasthētō to onoma sou;
elthetō hē basileia sou;
genethetō to thelēma sou,
hōs en ouranōi, kai epi tēs gēs;
ton arton hēmōn ton epiousion dos hēmin sēmeron;
kai aphes hēmin ta opheilēmata hēmōn,
hōs kai hēmeis aphiemen tois opheiletais hēmōn;
kai mē eisenenkēis hēmas eis peirasmon,
alla rhusai hēmas apo tou ponērou.
[Hoti sou estin hē basileia, kai hē dúnamis, kai hē doxa eis tous aiōnas;]


Pater noster, qui es in caelis
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua
sicut in caelo et in terra
Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie.
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a malo.

This version of the prayer occasionally shows up in certain hymns.

Another version uses supersubstantialem in place of quotidianum; quotidianum is also sometimes spelled cotidianum.

The Vulgate by Jerome says:

Pater noster qui in caelis es sanctificetur nomen tuum
veniat regnum tuum fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra
panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie
et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimisimus debitoribus nostris
et ne inducas nos in temptationem sed libera nos a malo

However, because word order in Latin is relatively free, the meaning is ultimately the same.



Although numerous variations exist, this version, from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church, is a fairly well known example:

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.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.]

Apart from four minor words and some capital letters, this is essentially the same as the 1662 Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England: the earlier version had "which art in Heaven", "in Earth", and "them that trespass".

The use of the word "trespasses" instead of "debts" as in Matthew 6:12 may be due to the use of the word in the explanation that follows the prayer in Matthew 6:13,14, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Even in the third century, Origen used the word trespasses (paraptômata) in the prayer. However, the Established Presbyterian Church of Scotland uses "debts" and "debtors" in the prayer. Most Evangelical churches associate the use of "trespasses" with Catholic traditions and prefer the use of "debts" and "debtors" instead. Confusing things further, the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer uses "trespasses" and thus otherwise Protestant countries with an Anglican tradition would use "trespasses".

The doxology (indicated in square brackets in the texts above) is almost certainly not part of the original prayer, but a later addition. It is frequently omitted or separated from the main body of the prayer.

Ecumenical English versionEdit

The ecumenical version prepared by the International Consultation on English Texts

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.

Other English versionsEdit

Other English versions are available at Wikisource.

As a language comparison toolEdit

Often translations of the prayer are used for a quick comparison of languages. This tradition comes from the publication of the Mithridates books. The prayer was elected because most earlier philologists were Christians if not priests themselves. Besides for many exotic languages, the most readily available text would be a partial or total translation of the Bible. For example, the only extant text in Gothic, a language crucial in the history of Indo-European languages, is the incomplete Bible translated by Wulfila.

This tradition has been opposed recently from both the angle of religious neutrality and of practicality: the forms used in the Lord's prayer (many commands) are not very representative of common discourse.

Philologists and language enthusiasts have proposed other texts like the Babel text (also part of the Bible) or the story of the North Wind and the Sun. In Soviet language sciences the complete works of Lenin were often used for comparison, as they were translated to most languages in the 20th century.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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