When Jesus’ disciples asked him how to pray, he gave them a short little example. It’s commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer” (though some suggest “The Disciples’ Prayer” would be a more appropriate label.) Others refer to it as “Our Father” after its opening phrase.
Did you know there are multiple versions of the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible? Matthew records the most common version. It’s found in Matthew 6:9-13. In the NIV, it’s only 53 words long and 66 words if you include the additional text at the end that is not found in all manuscripts:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (53 words)…“ for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen,” (13 more words; 66 total).
The Lord’s Prayer is also found in Luke 11:2-4. Compared to Matthew’s version, it omits two phrases and simplifies others, so it is even shorter, at only 34 words.
“Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And leads us not into temptation,” (34 words).
I’ve never heard anyone use Luke’s version. But it is in the Bible and is worth considering.
However, it doesn’t really matter which of these three versions of this classic prayer we follow, for I don’t think Jesus intended us to recite it verbatim, but to use it as a model or a template to form our own prayers.
What wording do you prefer for the Lord’s Prayer?
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.