Jesus Teaches His Disciples the Lord's Prayer

Learn how to pray the model prayer Jesus taught his followers

Jesus teaches the Lord's Prayer
Photo Source: Unsplash / Composition: Sue Chastain

In the Gospel of Luke 11:1-4, Jesus teaches the Lord's Prayer to his disciples when one of them asks, "Lord, teach us to pray." Almost all Christians have come to know and even memorize this prayer.

The Lord's Prayer is called the Our Father by Catholics. It is one of the most commonly prayed prayers by people of all Christian denominations in both public and private worship.

The Lord's Prayer

  • The Lord's Prayer is the pattern for prayer Jesus taught his followers.
  • Two versions of the prayer are in the Bible: Matthew 6:9-15 and Luke 11:1-4.
  • Matthew's version is part of the Sermon on the Mount.
  • Luke's version is in response to a disciple's request to teach them to pray.
  • The Lord's Prayer is also called the Our Father by Catholics.
  • The prayer is meant for community, the Christian family.

The Lord's Prayer in the Bible

Matthew and Luke present the Lord’s Prayer differently in their Gospels. In Matthew, Jesus is preaching his Sermon on the Mount, explaining that there is a righteousness from God that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees. He warns his followers against practicing hypocritical piety merely to be seen by others.

In Luke, Jesus teaches the Lord's prayer during his journey to Jerusalem. As their rabbi, the disciples saw Jesus as an example of a man of prayer. One of his followers asked him for instruction in prayer, and Jesus gave them a model in the Lord's Prayer.

The full version of The Lord's Prayer is recorded in Matthew 6:9-15:

"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)

Jesus Teaches the Pattern for Prayer

With the Lord's Prayer, Jesus Christ gave us a pattern or model for prayer. He was teaching his disciples how to pray. There's nothing magical about the words. The prayer is not a formula. We don't have to pray the lines verbatim. Rather, we can use this prayer to inform us, teaching us how to approach God in prayer.

Here is a simplified explanation of each section to help you develop a thorough understanding of the Lord's Prayer:

Our Father in Heaven

We pray to God our Father who is in heaven. He is our Father, and we are his humble children. We have a close bond. As a heavenly, perfect Father, we can trust that he loves us and will listen to our prayers. The use of "our" reminds us that we (his followers) are all part of the same family of God.

Hallowed Be Your Name

Hallowed means "to make holy." We recognize our Father's holiness when we pray. He is close and caring, but he's not our pal, nor our equal. He is God Almighty. We don't approach him with a sense of panic and doom, but with reverence for his holiness, acknowledging his righteousness and perfection. We are awed that even in his holiness, we belong to him.

Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done, on Earth As It Is in Heaven

We pray for God's sovereign rule in our lives and on this earth. He is our king. We recognize that he is in full control, and we submit to his authority. Going a step further, we desire God's Kingdom and rule to be extended to others in our surrounding world. We pray for the salvation of souls because we know that God wants all men to be saved.

Give Us Today Our Daily Bread

When we pray, we trust God to meet our needs. He will take care of us. At the same time, we're not worried about the future. We depend on God our Father to provide what we need for today. Tomorrow we will renew our dependence by coming to him in prayer once again.

Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Also Forgive Our Debtors

We ask God to forgive our sins when we pray. We search our hearts, recognize that we need his forgiveness, and confess our sins. Just as our Father graciously forgives us, we must forgive one another's shortcomings. If we desire to be forgiven, we must grant that same forgiveness to others.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From the Evil One

We need strength from God to resist temptation. We must stay in tune with the Holy Spirit's guidance to avoid anything that will tempt us to sin. We pray daily for God to deliver us from Satan's cunning traps so that we will know when to run away.

The Lord's Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer (1928)

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,
for ever and ever.

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Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Jesus Teaches His Disciples the Lord's Prayer." Learn Religions, Oct. 7, 2021, Fairchild, Mary. (2021, October 7). Jesus Teaches His Disciples the Lord's Prayer. Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Jesus Teaches His Disciples the Lord's Prayer." Learn Religions. (accessed March 31, 2023).

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