Lord's Prayer

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Lord's Prayer

or

Our Father,

the principal Christian prayer that Jesus in the New Testament (Mat. 6.9–13; Luke 11.2–4) taught his followers, beginning, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." It summarizes Jesus' teaching and stresses the concern of honoring God before that of meeting one's own needs. It also reveals Jesus' sense of a filial relationship with God. After the Second Vatican Council, Roman Catholics added a version of the doxology ("For thine is the kingdom," etc.) to prayer when used in the Mass; the doxolgy was already current in Protestant liturgies and is present in some manuscripts of Matthew. In Latin the prayer is called Paternoster. It also occurs in the Didache. The first three phrases of the prayer parallel the opening words of the ancient Jewish Kaddish.

Lord's Prayer

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Although the term "Lord's Prayer" (Catholic tradition often refers to the prayer by its first words, calling it the "Our Father") is not used in the Bible, the prayer itself appears in two places. Both Matthew (chapter 6) and Luke (chapter 11) quote the well-known six petitions in much the same order, but neither, in its earliest text, contains the final doxology. These words were probably added as a liturgical element, a congregational response, as it were. They are often left out in Roman Catholic tradition.

Two theories address the fact that Matthew and Luke offer slightly different versions. One says Jesus taught the prayer twice, using slightly different words. The other is that Luke's version was the real one and that Matthew copied it, changing the words slightly. Amidst all the present-day controversy surrounding the question of what the historical Jesus really did or did not say, it is informative to note that most scholars believe this prayer comes to us directly from the lips of Jesus in pretty much the same form as his original utterance.

It is addressed to Abba, a Hebrew word translated as "father." But abba is a personal word meaning something closer to "daddy" or "papa."

The prayer is arranged as follows:

[Introduction:] Our father, which [who] art in heaven [Petitions:] 1. Hallowed be thy name [May your name be made holy]— 2. Thy Kingdom come 3. Thy will de done on earth as it is in heaven

4. Give us this day our daily bread 5. Forgive us our trespasses ["debts" or "sins"] as we forgive those who trespass against us ["our debtors" or "those who sin against us"] 6. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil [Doxology:] For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever [and ever].

Lord's Prayer

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Lord's Prayer of Christianity was treated by the medieval persecutors of witches as a magical charm against witchcraft. As early as 400 CE, in his Sermon Against Fortune-Tellers and Diviners, St. Augustine said, "Cross yourselves in the name of Christ and say faithfully the Creed or the Lord's Prayer, you may go about your business secure in the help of God."

It was also used as a test for a witch. In England, at Chelmsford in 1579, Agnes Waterhouse was questioned on her ability to say the Lord's Prayer. In the summer of 1682, three Devonshire women were tried for witchcraft at Exeter Assizes. The judges, Sir Thomas Raymond and Sir Francis North, used their inability to repeat the Lord's Prayer as a sign of guilt. In the trial of Julian Cox, in front of Justice Archer in 1663, the accused was asked to repeat the Lord's Prayer and failed. Jane Wenham, at Hertford in 1712, was asked by the Rev. Mr. Strutt to say the Lord's Prayer and, in failing, made the excuse "she was much disturbed in her head."

Yet the ability to say the Lord's Prayer without error was no guarantee of an accused witch being found innocent. At Salem, Massachusetts, on August 19, 1692, a cart carrying five accused witches to Gallows Hill stopped in front of the gallows. One of the accused, George Burroughs, asked to address the crowd. This he did in carefully chosen words that worked on the emotions of the crowd. He then, clearly and faultlessly, recited the Lord's Prayer to them. The crowd was moved and would almost certainly have released him, but Cotton Mather arrived on horseback and, with stern words, cautioned them all against the workings of the Devil. Burroughs was hung with the others.