Does The Lord’s Prayer have Jewish Liturgical Roots?
The Lord’s Prayer is by far the most central and well-known Christian prayer in the world. But does it have some significant conceptual and word-by-word parallels in Jewish liturgical tradition?
The answer is clearly yes.
First, notice that the content of the Lord’s Prayer is the same as the key Jewish liturgical concept of אבינו מלכנו (pronounced: Avinu Malkenu), that when translated means “Our Father, Our King”. In fact, absolutely everything in the Lord’s prayer is centered around either the fatherhood or kingship of God.
“Our Father who is 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. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt.6:9b-13a)
Second, there are word-by-word parallels between the Lord’s Prayer and variety of Jewish prayers such as “Our Father, Our King”, the “Amidah”, and the “Morning Blessings”. Here is one example from each:
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ סְלַח וּמְחַל לְכָל עֲוֹנוֹתֵינוּ
Our Father, Our King, forgive and pardon all our sins.
נְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת שִׁמְךָ בָּעוֹלָם כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמַקְדִּישִׁים אוֹתוֹ בִּשְׁמֵי מָרוֹם
We will sanctify your Name in this world, as it is sanctified in high heaven.
ואל תביאנו לא לידי חטא ולא לידי עברה ועון, ולא לידי נסיון ולא לידי בזיון, ואל ישלט בנו יצר הרע
Lead us not into sin and transgression, iniquity, temptation and disgrace, so that evil will not rule over us. In the light of the above I want to invite you to grow together with me in appreciation of the deep connection that exists between Jewish and Christian Liturgical traditions.
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