We have had the opportunity this week to take a look at prayer, specifically, the Lord's Prayer.
Many people know the Lord's Prayer by heart, or they are at least very familiar with it. If you know any of the bible, you know this. We get the Lord's Prayer as we know it today translated from the combination of Greek language versions found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, together with a doxology (praise ending) added in the early Christian centuries.
The prayer we are familiar with today goes like this:
The Lord's Prayer
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 forever. Amen.
There is something so concise and elegant about this prayer. But it is important to remember it wasn't written in English. Not only that, but the words spoken in their day are not always understood with the same meaning when we hear the prayer now.
It seemed to me that in looking at this prayer and the original Greek, it might be worthwhile to re-imagine how the concerns named in the original Greek might be understood to speak to us today. Below, then, is--
The Lord's Prayer—revisited.
God, our divine parent, the head of our family, the true ruler, creator, and provider, let us turn to you and pay attention.
Your dwelling place is of eternal life and light.
You and your word are to be honored above all else.
God, bring about the final age! Let us be free of petty tyrants, despots, or little kings. Let us live according to your rule.
Let your desires be made manifest in our world. Your heavens are a place where your will and your ways are sacred and observed by all. Make earth like that.
Give us this day and each day all that we need to sustain our lives and partake of your blessings. All things come from you.
Forgive us for all the ways that we have stepped over the boundaries you set for us. Forgive us for all the ways that we have caused discord in the world, or contributed to the debt or enslavement of others. Teach us to live in your mercy. Let us never become a stumbling block for others. Let us never be debt-makers, not for ourselves and not for others.
God, do not test us. Do not test our attention and loyalty so that we worship darkness instead of goodness. Set us always on the road that leads to you.
Protect us from all who would extinguish our life or impoverish us. Protect us from ever impoverishing others for our own gain. Defend us from all who worship destruction, harm, murder and darkness.
God, yours is the ultimate ending. Your rule raises the weak. Your rule praises the humble. Your rule liberates the slave and the meek and the hungry. Let us live in your kingdom where all are made well, all are whole, and all are loved.
To you belongs the true power of the universe. Yours is the true power, of love, compassion, and strength to do all, be all, in all, and for all. You and only you deserve our honor and our praise forever.