I mentioned in my post on prayer that I wondered why the Master had combined a couple of traditional prayers from his parent faith and called them sufficient. I have been privy to study this prayer under a man whose knowledge of the Christian Bible was also built up with a knowledge of Torah and Talmudic tradition and Jewish history. Since an article from Ontario, Canada states it as well as any, I will quote it here.
Known by Roman Catholics as the “Our Father,” the Lord’s Prayer is probably the best-known prayer in Christianity, primarily because it is the only one explicitly endorsed by Jesus.
It appears in two places in the New Testament. In the Gospel of Matthew, it is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, while in Luke, a disciple asks Jesus how to pray, and Jesus obliges with the now-famous words:
“Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”
Where did Jesus get it?
Rabbi Bernard Baskin of Hamilton, Ont., who has studied the prayer’s roots, offers an explanation. “Jesus wasn’t a pagan or a Greek. It came from the Jewish tradition almost phrase by phrase.”
The Interpreter’s Bible, a well-known Christian source, agrees. The Lord’s Prayer “is thoroughly Jewish,” it states, and nearly every phrase is paralleled in the Jewish liturgy.
What makes it a Christian prayer is not its language but the fact that it was promulgated by the fount of Christianity, says the Rev. Dan Donovan, a theologian at Toronto’s St. Michael’s College.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus himself first prays, and then teaches the Lord’s Prayer. “He is drawing us into his prayer,” Donovan said. “The (issue) is not so much the actual words, but the fact that Christians pray it as the prayer that Jesus taught, and in some sense, as a way of sharing in his prayer.”
In his book, “Jesus and the Judaism of His Time,” University of Toronto scholar Irving Zeitlin cites line-by-line parallels between the Lord’s Prayer and the Jewish mourner’s prayer, the Kaddish (“May (God) establish His kingdom during our lifetime and during the lifetime of Israel”); the Eighteen Benedictions (“Forgive us our Father, for we have sinned”); Talmudic prayer (“Lead me not into sin or iniquity or temptation or contempt,” goes one); and other Hebrew scriptures.
That means Jesus “brilliantly” condensed important Jewish ethical teachings, while also summing up the essence of what would become the Christian faith, says Darrell Johnson, a teacher at Vancouver’s evangelical Regent College and author of “Fifty-Seven Words That Change the World: A Journey Through the Lord’s Prayer.”
“The Lord’s Prayer gathers up all of life and brings it before God. Jesus brings the wide range of concerns the Jews would bring to prayer and just boils them to these six petitions.”
Catholics and Protestants, meanwhile, have differed on the use of the last line, known as the doxology — “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.” Protestants generally use it, while Catholics added it to the Mass just in 1970.
Scholars agree the line was in any case probably lifted from the Book of Chronicles, in which King David is quoted: “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor.”
Given its Jewish roots, Johnson feels the Lord’s Prayer is “so wonderfully inclusive that any religious orientation could pray this prayer.”
The “only glitch” he sees is the reference to “Our Father,” and that has nothing to do with religion.
“That would be the bigger problem for a number of women who find it hard to address God in male language. If I were in leadership, I think I could nurture a climate that said, ‘This prayer, minus that problem, includes us all.”‘
The biggest irony, perhaps, is that Jesus himself might never have uttered his own prayer in a public setting.
“When you pray,” he counsels his followers during the Sermon on the Mount, “go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”
For me, there is also another irony, I do not believe my rabbi had any intention of being known to all as Lord, I still believe all of that is added on by folks who either in ignorance, or worse, in full knowledge of their defiling intent, made a God-man of a Jewish rabbi who taught love and peace in a radical manner, and knowingly changed the four known gospels to reflect that untruth.
I must admit to being grateful to the idea that some parts of his teaching came through unspoiled, but I had to go to other sources besides the church to find that out. It is for that reason that I do not consider myself necessarily Christian, but follow a spirituality that honors the One God above all else. To me, the prayer we know of as the Lord’s Prayer, is very much a pattern on which we can form our prayers, knowing that, if we follow the simplicity of his thought before us, we will be addressing every one of our needs before Hashem.
For further study, Emmet Fox’s teachings ~ I have found no reference that he studied Judaism, to know the origin of so much of Y’shua’s wisdom, though there is much wisdom to be gleaned from his take on almost anything spiritual.