Lord's Prayer

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The Lord's Prayer (also known as the Our Father or Pater Noster) is perhaps the best-known prayer in Christianity. Two versions of it occur in the New Testament, one in the Gospel of Matthew 6:9–13[1] as part of the discourse on ostentation, a section of the Sermon on the Mount; and the other in the Gospel of Luke 11:2–4.[2] In the Bible, the prayer ends with 'deliver us from evil' or 'the trial.' Many Christians (especially Protestants) also add the doxology (a non-Biblical prayer) immediately after and treat the two as a single prayer.

The context of the prayer in Matthew is as part of a discourse deploring people who pray grandiosely, simply for the purpose of being seen to pray; Matthew describes Jesus as instructing people to pray "after the manner" of this prayer. Taking into account the prayer's structure, flow of subject matter and emphases, one interpretation of the Lord's Prayer is as a guideline on how to pray rather than something to be learned and repeated by rote. There are other interpretations suggesting that the prayer was intended as a specific prayer to be used. The New Testament reports Jesus and the disciples praying on several occasions; but as it never describes their actually using this prayer, it is uncertain how important it was originally viewed as being.

In Christian scholarship, the prayer's absence from the Gospel of Mark (see the Prayer for forgiveness of Mark 11:25–26[3]), taken together with its presence in both Luke and Matthew, has caused scholars who accept the Q hypothesis (as opposed to Augustinian hypothesis) to conclude that it is a quotation from the Q document, especially because of the context in Luke's presentation of the prayer.

On Easter Day 2007 it was estimated that two billion Catholic, Anglican, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Christians read, recited, or sang the short prayer in hundreds of languages.[4] Although many theological differences and various modes and manners of worship divide Christians, according to Fuller Seminary professor Clayton Schmit "there is a sense of solidarity in knowing that Christians around the globe are praying together..., and these words always unite us."[4]

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