The Lords Prayer

Following on from yesterday, I was at a service recently where we were encouraged to use the “modern” form of the Lords prayer! Not sure that “sin” and “trials” is anymore understandable culturally!
It’s been around for a while now but I love the txt version of the Lords Prayer and really enjoyed being at a Youth Led service once where the whole congregation were led together in saying:
[email protected],ur spshl.
we want wot u want
&urth2b like hvn
giv us food
&4giv us
lyk we 4giv uvaz.
don’t test us!
save us!
bcos we kno ur boss,
ur tuf&ur cool
4 eva!ok

And lets not debate how it fits into a liturgical framework!
Supplemental: Over at Coyote Mercury you can see the Lords Prayer’s English translation in both Old and Middle English.

5 Replies to “The Lords Prayer”

  1. Yep. Its important to understand what we pray. But maybe, just maybe, understanding comes AFTER learning. Maybe we shoudn’t criticise rote learning of the Lord’s prayer – after all, the alternative would be not to teach it until or unless the children understoond it.
    I think it is very important that schools teach an agreed version of the Lord’s prayer by rote, and that learning what it means is a life-long process!
    When I was 7 I lived right by the Thames. For a long time I thought the prayer included the phrase: “lead us not into Thames Station”. But I am still glad, along with 90% of the rest of the nation, that I learned the Lord’s prayer by rote. Research tells us that most people learned the Lord’s prayer not in Church, nor from their parents, but in School. And that one of the biggest reasons for Schools dropping this teaching was confusion over which version to say!
    I’d happily trade my concern about big words for a rote learning of the traditional version, with understanding to follow later!

  2. Thanks for the comment Richard, don’t entirley disagree either but am passionate about the emphasis being on real learning not just being satisfied with having taught something. An emphasis on learning will mean a desire to engage with context and therefore what will be understood (and why we want it to be understood).
    There is an old expresion that says “To teach John Latin, one must know Latin but also must know John”
    I’m sure teaching by Rote has some place, I’m very glad I learnt several of Wordsworths poems (particularly the last verse of Daffodils) but I understood them when I learnt them, ensuring they were filed in my brain as important not irrelevant.

  3. I wouldn’t DREAM of debating the liturgical structures with you! My thoughts were more about the fact that we have the old and new versions of the Lord’s prayer (well the Methodists’ modern version is a bit different as well in fact) and yet we have lots of translations of the bible. In the New Revised Standard Version which is the version used by the lectionary the prayer is:
    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.”
    and the Message has:
    “Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best – as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes”
    Yet no matter how many versions there are, what is important is that this was Jesus’ model for prayer. He didn’t say pray THIS EXACTLY but pray LIKE this. Surely it’s more important to help children udnerstand how to pray and what it means to pray?

  4. How about this one – included in the Night Prayer service in the New Zealand Prayer Book (equivalent of our Common Worship)
    Eternal Spirit Earth-maker, Pain-Bearer, Life-giver,
    Source of all that is and that shall be.
    Father and Mother of us all,
    Loving God, in whom is heaven:
    The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
    The way of your justice be followed by peoples of the world!
    Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
    Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
    With the bread we need for today, feed us.
    In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
    In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
    From trials too great to endure, spare us.
    From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
    For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever.

  5. I came across this posting through a Google search today – scored first place on Google! As a read of our blog will show, this is one of my pet topics, so I thought I’d post a (big) comment!
    I would wholeheartedly agree that with what was said at the service, we should be teaching the modern form. As Ian has said, sins and temptation (in the Church of England version) is still not overly comprehensible, but at least the modern version is consistent with the rest of the liturgy. Also, from a personal point of view over the last 30 years I have grown up with the modern version (Series 3, ASB, Common Worship), my familiarity is with the modern wording.
    In some of the articles reporting the Church of Englands decision back in 1998 to include both modern versions of the Lord’s Prayer, and the 1967 traditional revision, a survey was quoted that said that 80% of the adult population of the UK could recite the Lord’s Prayer. However the key point was that the figure dropped to 50% for 18-25’s. From my schooling, in two mainstream comprehensive’s, with no Church association, I was never taught the prayer in school. The Lord’s Prayer is increasingly not part of mainstream schooling. I would imagine that if the survey were repeated today, six years later, the figure would be below 50%.
    To my mind, if increasingly the people we are looking towards are a blank slate with regards to the prayer, the familiarity argument looses weight, ultimately it becomes a question of looking at whether our choice is being driven by what *we* are familiar with. Are we holding on to the traditional version, and in a wider sense many of our traditions because of what we want, because of what makes us comfortable, or because it is better for those we are trying to reach? Do we need to step back from what we as members of the Church do, and be objective, looking at how what we do is percieved by an increasingly secular society? If, as is sometimes said, we are seen as being an organisation stuck in the past, lacking in relevance to modern life, if in our modern liturgy such as we have in Common Worship, we suddenly leap into a form of English that has not been commonly used in centuries, and as quickly leap back, what message does that give?
    The version of the Lord’s Prayer I quoted in my previous comment is an attempt to try and clear up a lot of the confusion in the current wording, but not suprisingly recieved a lot of criticism, (the page from which I copied the text follows it up with the comment “And, yes, I’ve suffered through services where it was used. *yuk*”) and yet I’ve seen pages and pages of debate between Christians about the meaning of the words of the traditional Lords Prayer, and the modern version is still not much better, the points where the traditional wording is confusing to a modern ear (“Lead us not into temptation” implies that God is tempting us, “Trespass” relates to land, etc etc) are still not much better.
    As with many things in the Church it is a balance between tradition, and our calling to preach the Gospel. Between those ‘in the club’, and those we are trying to reach to invite to join.
    Currently I don’t think either the traditional or current C of E modern version are particularly comprehensible to adults, let alone youth. The modern version we have I see as a compromise, an attempt to move forward, trying to keep some familiarty. It’s chief advantage it is a compromise that is a coherent part of our liturgy, rather than the apparently anachronistic reversion to BCP that we get using the traditional within a Common Worship service, and as such if we are commited to preaching to people in their own language, rather than expecting them to try and learn the language of our club, it is a step in the right direction, and a step we all should be taking.

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