Prayer – Day 8

How then should we pray?

The Lord’s Prayer, or the “Our Father” as it is popularly referred to, was originally spoken in Aramaic, a language related to Hebrew, and probably Jesus’ mother tongue. However, since at least the time of Augustine in the fourth century, the prayer has been used didactically as a way of teaching followers of “the Way” about prayer.

The way the prayer is structured forms a stark contrast with the way the Jews pray in the synagogues and on the streets, “babbling like pagans” to be seen by others. He offers us this prayer as a private conversation with our Father, which reminds us that God is a relational God who knows our hearts and minds reminding us that “your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (verse 8).

The prayer has traditionally been divided up into the introduction,“Our Father, who art in heaven”, followed by seven petitions. The first three are addressed to God and are about his character (“Hallowed be thy name”) and concerns (“Thy kingdom come”; “Thy will be done”). Thus we are permitted, or rather commanded, to commit ourselves to God’s cause and to pray that this cause — and his kingdom — may triumph and so reach its fulfilment.