Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our Father, a Jewish Prayer

You can find an index of all the 31 Days of Encountering Judaism here.


Did you know that the Our Father, also called The Lord's Prayer, is Jewish?

And not just because Jesus was Jewish (but yes, he is).

It's a prayer christians may say while alone but most commonly we say it as a part of corporate worship: whether it's a Sunday service or as part of a bible study or small group session.

It is not my Father in heaven, but our Father.

According to Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Jewish prayers are written to be prayed together. Hence the "our"...

Also as John Dominic Crossan pointed out in a way less vitriolic book "The Greatest Prayer", the Our Father is written as much good Hebrew poetry is.

Take a look at the psalms: how the second half of the verse restates and changes the first half ...

Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray. (Psalm 5:1-2)


And then look at: "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us" and other parts of the prayer.

Each line is as Jewish as it is Christian. Nothing in it (although I could be wrong) is contrary to Hebrew wisdom and Christianity gains from the depth of tradition here, older than two thousand years. 

I see this prayer, in a sense unique to Christianity, as another connection to Judaism, another claim to kinship, to relationship.


And that is beautiful to me.

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