Have you ever stopped and really thought about the Lord’s Prayer?  Even beyond that, have you ever thought about what you are asking God to do?  Especially when we are asked to be forgiven of our “Debts”, “Sins”, “Trespasses”, whichever format of the Lord’s Prayer you pray.

Below are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer, as printed in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Note on the versions, there are some word changes but they say essentially the same thing.  The choice of words when translating from Greek into English can make a difference in how we hear and take into ourselves, what we hear, see and feel.  They are still however essentially the same.

Lord’s Prayer from the (ELW)

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.


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 and ever. Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pastoral Care – ELW (Fortress Press, 2008).

There are two locations in the Bible, that we can find the prayer.  We can look at Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.  Luke’s version is shorter and it  does not include something that I find is crucial to an understanding of what we are asking God to do.  Thus the point of this post.  So, first let’s look Matthew’s account of the prayer.

Below, is from Matthew 6:9-13, (NRSV) where Jesus tells us how to pray.

“Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

10Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11Give us this day our daily bread.

12And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13And do not bring us to the time of trial,

but rescue us from the evil one.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Mt 6:9–13.

What I think we often fail to see, because we do not say it in our prayer and maybe often we fail to see because of taking the prayer out of it’s full context, are the verses that follow the prayer.

Jesus continues to speak, and says;

14For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The Holy Bible: Today’s New International Version. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), Mt 6:14–15.

Now think about the prayer and read it carefully.

2And forgive us our debts, [sins, trepasses]

as we also have forgiven our debtors. [those who sin against us, trespasses against us]

Now go back to verse 14 and 15.  Are we really prepared to be forgiven by God, how we forgive others?  Do we need a change of heart before we pray this prayer?

Just food for thought, when we pray this prayer.

On a couple of other notes.  I encourage you to look at both Matthew’s and Luke’s account of the prayer.  I also highly encourage you to look at different translations of the Bible. I used a couple of here, but there are many other translations.  There is a difference between translations and paraphrase and interpretations.  The Message Bible is an example of a paraphrase interpretation.  The best translations were translated by using the original Greek and Hebrew scriptures.  When you start looking at the footnotes to the verses, you will also note that some of the original copies of the Greek and Hebrew scriptures, can be slightly different as well.  They may use different words, add words or not have other words included.  The word choice when translating, is chosen by the translators.  Often there is NOT a word for word way to translate from one language into another.  What also has to be taken into consideration is:

Translator’s background (Context)
The context of the original text
The year of the translation
The audience of the translation, their context
There are many other factors as well, but all of this makes a difference when looking at other translations.
Studying the scriptures can be a lot of fun.  It can also be confusing and frustrating at times.  Listening for the the Holy Spirit during those times can make it even more interesting and fun.  God continues to speak to us today, in words of the Bible, the environment, other humans, other written words, etc.  God continues to speak.

In all things:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

10Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.