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Transforming Parishes Through Communities of Practice

An Encore Access Resource


Praying the "Our Father" with Jesus


This resource is a guide to using an Encore presentation from the School of Theology and Ministry as a conversation starter with members of a faith community.  Each part of the presentation may be used separately, in combination with each other, or in a sequence over a period of time.  "Praying the Our Father with Jesus" has broad application for a faith community.  It could serve as a standalone adult ed series during Advent or Lent, or could augment the activities of existing parish groups, such as prayer groups or Scripture study groups.  Segments could be used by for periodic catechist meetings or Catholic school faculty meetings, and it would also be appropriate for high school religion students studying the life of Jesus or the New Testament.

Overview of the Presentation


In this presentation Michael Simone, S.J. helps us view the Lord’s Prayer through Jesus’s eyes.  This is a personal project that Fr. Simone pursues in addition to his academic research and writing.  Simone reminds us that the library of books we call the Hebrew Bible or the "Old Testament" was the only Bible Jesus knew.  As Simone explores selected phrases or segments from the “Our Father,” he points us to passages and words that may have captivated the mind of Jesus when Jesus uttered that prayer.  Simone’s reflections demonstrate to the modern Christian believer just how powerful a source of revelation the Hebrew Bible continues to be. 

View the full-length presentation or the transcript

Part 1: Introduction and “Our Father” [15 minutes]

Part 2: “Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name” [14 minutes]

Part 3: “Thy Kingdom Come . . . Forgive Us Our Trespasses” [13 minutes]

Part 4: “Lead Us Not into Temptation” [9:30 minutes]

Part 1: Introduction and “Our Father”

Overview:  First, Simone introduces us to his interest in the Lord’s Prayer, which he sums up in this way: “. . . how does Jesus take these words that he’s hearing, maybe that he’s reading, and incorporate them in his own sense of mission, his own sense of prayer?  How does he find words to describe his own desires, his own hopes, his own fears, using the words that he inherits from the Hebrew Bible?’’  Simone continues by exploring how the prayer begins: “Our Father.”  He explains the characteristics that Jesus captures in his use of “father.”  He also identifies some other divine images described in the Hebrew Bible that Jesus did not draw upon. 

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Study aide: Compare the “Our Father” in Luke and in Matthew. Use the drop-down menu on the Bible Gateway site to choose the translation of the Bible you wish to view:

Questions for Reflection or Discussion

1.       What assumptions did you make about Jesus’s education before you heard Simone describe literacy skills in Jesus’s time?  How might Simone’s description contribute to understanding why there are two versions of the “Lord’s Prayer,” one in Luke and one in Matthew?

2.       What are some characteristics of “father” that Jesus may have called to mind when he began the prayer with “Our Father”?  Which ones speak to you most strongly?

3.       What were some divine images available to Jesus in the Hebrew Bible that Fr. Simone did not draw upon?  What images of God are important to you?


Part 2:  “Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name”

Overview:  Simone makes two points in this video segment. First, by praying to the Father who is in heaven, the first-century hearer understood that God is more accessible than they may have imagined.  Second, the divine name makes God present.  Even when the name isn’t used, an action taken in the divine name makes the divine present.

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Questions for Reflection or Discussion

1.       Simone makes the point that for modern Christians, it is not surprising to say that God is in heaven.  What experiences, prayer, or Scripture passages help you realize that God is accessible to us today?

2.       Describe how you understand the phrase “hallowed be thy name”? 


Part 3:  “Thy Kingdom Come . . . Forgive Us Our Trespasses”

Overview:  Simone prompts us to reflect on the meaning of the Kingdom and daily bread.  He links kingdom to Ezekiel 34.  He points out that the understanding of daily bread evolved to become “reliance upon pure grace.”  Finally, based on a vision of the Jubilee year which was a familiar idea in Israelite society, Simone builds a case for the use of “debt” rather than “trespass” or “sin.”  

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Questions for Reflection or Discussion

1.    How do you understand the phrase “give us this day our daily bread?”   How does Simone’s explanation support, enhance, or change your understanding?

2.    What difference does it make to you if you pray “forgiver us our trespasses” or “ debts” or “sins”?  What difference does it make to Simone, based on his understanding of the Hebrew Bible?  


Part 4: “Lead Us Not into Temptation”

Overview: Simone focuses on an understanding of the word “temptation” as “test.”  He inquires whether God tests or the devil tests.  He speaks of the great tests of Abraham, Job, and the Israelites in the desert.  In this segment, Simone also provides a short review of the points he has made throughout his entire presentation.   He draws our attention to how one can be enriched by knowing the biblical prophets when praying this prayer.  He ends by asking if this is personal prayer or priestly prayer, i.e. mediated prayer for the whole community.  This question leads him to comment on the word “our” which begins the Lord’s Prayer.

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Questions for Reflection or Discussion

1.    What does it mean to you to pray the “Our Father” with the word “test” rather than “temptation?”  What, from the Hebrew Bible, does Simone think that “test” evokes?

2.    What does it mean to you to pray the “Our Father” as prayer for the world?


For Further Study

Use this page to compare Matthew’s and Luke’s versions of the Lord’s Prayer.  Use the drop-down menu to see the comparison in a different translation.

N.T. Wright, “The Lord’s Prayer as a Paradigm of Christian Prayer”
For another voice, read this article by a well-known biblical scholar:

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