The traditional expression “the Lord’s Prayer”—
—means that the prayer to our Father is taught and given
to us by the Lord Jesus. The prayer that comes to us from Jesus is
truly unique: it is “of the Lord.” On the one hand, in the words of
this prayer the only Son gives us the words the Father gave him:
he is the master of our prayer. On the other, as Word incarnate, he
knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and
sisters and reveals them to us: he is the model of our prayer.
But Jesus does not give us a formula to repeat mechani
As in every vocal prayer, it is through the Word of God that
the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God to pray to their Father.
Jesus not only gives us the words of our filial prayer; at the same
time he gives us the Spirit by whom these words become in us
“spirit and life.”
Even more, the proof and possibility of our filial
prayer is that the Father “sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
Since our prayer sets forth our desires
before God, it is again the Father, “he who searches the hearts of
men,” who “knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit
intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
to Our Father is inserted into the mysterious mission of the Son and
of the Spirit.
This indivisible gift of the Lord’s words and of the Holy
Spirit who gives life to them in the hearts of believers has been
received and lived by the Church from the beginning. The first
communities prayed the Lord’s Prayer three times a day,
place of the “Eighteen Benedictions” customary in Jewish piety.
According to the apostolic tradition, the Lord’s Prayer is
essentially rooted in liturgical prayer:
[The Lord] teaches us to make prayer in common for all our
brethren. For he did not say “my Father” who art in heaven,
but “our” Father, offering petitions for the common Body.
8, 3: SCh 248, 174.
19 St. John Chrysostom,
Hom. in Mt.
19, 4: PG 57, 278.