Our Father

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The Lord's Prayer is the most common prayer of Christianity and the only one after the New Testament Jesus Christ his own disciples taught. It is prayed by Christians of all denominations , most of them also in worship . To do this, they use the longer version with a total of seven requests, which is contained in the Gospel of Matthew . In the Gospel of Luke there is a shorter version with five petitions. Thanks to its frequent use, the Lord's Prayer is one of the most famous texts in the Bible . Along with the Creed and the Ten Commandments , it was considered one of the fundamentals that every baptized Christian should learn and know. The Lutheran catechism takes up this tradition.

Plaque with the German text in the Paternoster Church ( Jerusalem )
The dome fresco of the Lichtental parish church shows the seven petitions of the Our Father

The Lord's Prayer is also called


The Lord's Prayer has been handed down in two different versions: Mt 6,9–13  EU and Lk 11,2–4  EU . Both versions begin with addressing God as Father and are followed by two different series: first you-requests "(your)", referring to God, specifically to his name and his rule, then we-requests "(our)", as requests for the needs of followers of Jesus Christ, bodily (bread) and spiritual (forgiveness, temptation). With this the five requests contained in Luke are named, in Matthew there are two more.

Luke 11

The Lord's Prayer stands outside the field discourse ( Lk 6.20–49  EU ) and other Lucanian parallels to the Sermon on the Mount. It is narrated in response to Jesus' inquiry by a disciple: “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples. Then he said to them, When you pray, say, Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us the bread we need every day. And remedy our sins; because we also remit what he owes us to everyone. And do not lead us into temptation ”( Lk 11: 1-4  EU ). Before that there was a report about Jesus' visit to the sisters Martha and Maria ( Lk 10,38-42  EU ). There listening to the teaching of Jesus was juxtaposed as “the good part” that should not be taken away from whoever chooses it, with the many “sorrow and trouble” with which Martha tries to serve Jesus. Accordingly, the Lord's Prayer appears as that better worship service that the hearers of Jesus' teaching can learn from it.

Because of the situational framework and the mention of the disciples of St. John, the version of Luke is usually considered to be more original.

Matthew 6

The better known version on which today's liturgical usage is based is based on the text of the Gospel of Matthew ( Mt 6 : 9-13  EU ). There the Lord's Prayer is in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount , which is preceded by the teaching of Jesus his salvific action ( Mt 5,1f  EU ). The formulation of the Our Father makes Jesus' teaching on prayer ( Mt 6.5–15  EU ) concrete. The prayer of the followers should be different from a public, verbose, outward-looking way of praying among Pharisees and Gentiles . Its basis is the promise that precedes all prayer, “Your father knows what you need before you ask for it” ( Mt 6 :EU ). This is followed by the invitation: “Therefore you should pray like this” ( Mt 6 : 9a  EU ).

In Matthew, God's address is solemn: not just “Father” (as with Luke), but “Our Father in Heaven”. The two rows of requests are also supplemented: the first row with the note “Thy will be done”, the second row with the request “but deliver us from evil”.

Only in Matthew is there a comment from Jesus regarding one of the requests, namely the request for forgiveness: The comment relates to the statement made by the prayer that he himself had forgiven other people. Jesus declares this interpersonal forgiveness to be extremely important; he sees it as a prerequisite for receiving forgiveness from God ( Mt 6:14  EU ). Incidentally, this comment is half as long as the text of the Our Father.

Only the Matthean version closes the series of requests with a doxology (“boasting word”) that comes back to the initial request for the coming of the kingdom of God and, as it were, returns the previous promise of God in the mouth of Jesus to God: “For yours is the kingdom [... ] “However, this conclusion has not been passed down in the oldest manuscripts, so it was probably missing in the original Gospel of Matthew.

Text according to the version in Matthew

Greek original text and Latin text

The Lord's Prayer in Latin as Gregorian chant
Greek Latin

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ·
ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου ·
ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου ·
γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου,
ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς ·
τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον ·
καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν,
ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν
καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

(Greek version based on the Gospel of Matthew)

Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur nomen tuum.
Adveniat regnum tuum.
Fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum supersubstantialem (cotidianum) da nobis hodie.
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem,
sed libera nos a malo.

(Latin version based on the Vulgate translation)

Aramaic text (in transliteration ) and German text

Aramaic (in Latin letters) German

Abwûn d'bwaschmaja.
Shame on Nethkadash.
Têtê malkuthach.
Nehwê tzevjânach aikâna d'bwaschmâja af b'arha.
Hawvlân lachma d'sûnkanân jaomâna.
Waschboklân chaubên (wachtahên) aikâna daf chnân schvoken l'chaijabên.
Wela tachlân l'nesjuna ela patzân min bischa.
Metol dilachie malkutha wahaila wateschbuchta l'ahlâm almîn.

(Version in Aramaic )

Our father in Heaven.
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Our daily bread Give us today.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever.

(Translation based on Martin Luther from Mt 6.9–13  EU )

Ursula Schattner-Rieser has made a new back-translation or reconstruction of the original Aramaic prayer based on the Aramaic texts from Qumran "the Central Aramaic -Palestinian phase", which differs in a number of details from the common retroversions.

German-language text versions

section Current ecumenical version
(prepared by ALT 1971)
Earlier Lutheran version
( Evangelical Church Hymns 1950)
Earlier Roman Catholic version
( Schott missal from 1930)
Former Old Catholic version
( hymn book from 1965)

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Our Father who are in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Our Father who are in heaven, hallowed be your name;

Our father who are in heaven. Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your kingdom come.

your kingdom come to us;

Your kingdom come to us.

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Your will be done, as it is in heaven, therefore also on earth.

Your will be done, as it is in heaven, also on earth!

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Our daily bread Give us today. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

Our daily bread Give us today; and forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors;

Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Embolism (Only in some liturgical traditions, see embolism .)
Doxology For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Acclamation Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.

In the Reformed churches the address is: “Our Father”, the rest of the text is the same. In the New Apostolic Church , in addition to the salutation, the second sentence has also been changed: “Your name will be sanctified”. In it it follows the Luther Bible from 1984.

In contrast to the German translation, the Latin version differentiates between plural and singular when the phrase “in heaven” occurs twice : in caelis ( ablative plural, literally: in the heavens) on the one hand, in caelo (ablative singular) on the other. This formulation can also be found in the original Greek text and goes back to the ancient idea of ​​the seven heavens , whereby God himself is located in Araboth , the seventh heaven. The first translation of the St. Gallen Catechism , compiled at the end of the eighth century, deviated from it with the formulation “Fater unseer, thu pist in himile”, as did today's tradition. Correspondingly, the English version uses the singular "in heaven" twice, while French distinguishes between "aux cieux" and "au ciel".

In the case of the request for bread, the original Greek version speaks of ἄρτος ἐπιούσιος , that is, of "sufficient bread" or bread for this (and the next) day: "Give us today the bread sufficient for us." The Vulgate translates the same word epiusios differently: Luke 11 : 3 "Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis cotidie", Matthew 6:11 "Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie." In liturgical usage the phrase "panem quotidianum (cotidianum)" - "daily bread" - was common.

When asking for forgiveness, the translations do not follow the oldest manuscripts, but the majority text or the text version in Luke. They write: “as we also forgive our debtors ” ( ἀφιομεν , present tense). Originally, however, Matthew very likely used the verb form ἀφήκαμεν (aphēkamen, a form of the aorist ): “as we have forgiven”. For those who pray, this means that they should not ask for forgiveness if they have not yet taken this step themselves, because - as the Gospel of Matthew continues - “if you forgive people for their wrongdoings, your Father in heaven will also give you your wrongdoings forgive. But if you do not forgive people their wrongdoings, your Father in heaven will not forgive you your wrongdoings either. ”( Mt 6:14,  15 )

"And do not lead us into temptation" translated exegete with "And let us not get into temptation", which has been used by French-speaking Catholics since 2017 (or from 2018 in Switzerland). On this occasion, Pope Francis criticized the translation into German and other languages. The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Reinhard Cardinal Marx , rejected this. He sees no need to change the Lord's Prayer and has most of the German bishops on his side. The Protestant Church also sees no need for action; According to the head of the revision of the Luther Bible, Christoph Kähler , this is not a question of the correct translation, but of the interpretation. Following the papal suggestion, the text for Italy was changed from November 29, 2020: in future it should read: non abbandonarci alla tentazione (literally: do not let us down in temptation) instead of previously: non ci indurre in tentazione (do not lead us into Temptation).

The praise ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. ἀμήν or Quia tuum est regnum et potestas et gloria in saecula. ("For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever") is only found in later manuscripts; he is based on a prayer of thanks from King David ( 1 Chr 29.11  EU ).

Prehistory of the two versions

The we-form of the Our Father suggests that it was prayed in community; for this it was necessary to memorize it. But this begs the question why there are two versions. Research tends to hold the shorter version in Luke to be the one originally taught by Jesus. The extensions of the Matthew version are perhaps based on the following concerns: The solemn address of God at the beginning could have been made for liturgical reasons. The two additional requests could have arisen from a desire to orientate oneself fully on Jesus' prayer; the requests are reported in a similar form as Jesus' prayers on Passion Eve: "Thy will be done" Jesus prayed in Getsemani ( Lk 22:42  EU ), and Jesus asked "keep them from evil" in the so-called "high priestly prayer" ( Jn 17 , 15  EU ).

The fact that the versions in Luke and Matthew go back to a joint translation into Greek is due to the consistent use of the unique Greek word epiusios in the request for bread.

Since the Lord's Prayer is found in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark, historical-critical research assigns it to the hypothetical source of logia Q. The oldest of these texts, which were originally handed down orally and were shaped by the situation of evangelizing preachers, are traced back to Christians who probably met Jesus themselves during his lifetime.


The Lord's Prayer is linked to the prayer traditions of the Tanakh . For example, Psalm 103 relates to God's holy name, his will and his willingness to forgive, and he compares God's mercy to that of a father towards his children. So Jesus took up existing keywords in the OT without borrowing specific formulations from there.

There are individual similarities to later Jewish prayers: In the first part of the Our Father, in relation to the sanctification of the name and the realization of God's rulership, there are parallels to the Kaddish (which was written around 100 AD), and in the second Part, in relation to the needs of human life, there are parallels to the eighteen supplication Schmone Esreh (the contents of which are attested to around 200 AD). But there are also significant differences. Jewish prayers were said in the sacred language of Hebrew , while Jesus most likely taught the Lord's Prayer in the vernacular Aramaic . The most common forms of addressing God in Judaism were "Lord" or "King of the world". The address practiced by Jesus - and taught by his disciples - was Aramaic Abba , which translates as father or dear father . That was a very confidential form of address. One can "summarize the whole of early Christian theology with this formula". Those who address God in such a familiar way are "children of God" ( Rom . 8: 15–16  EU ). The idea of ​​the Heavenly Father is to be kept free from the patriarchal caricatures that human fathers often produce. Also new was Jesus' invitation to those who prayed to forgive other people on their part, and the connection of this condition with a request to God for forgiveness of their own guilt. Finally, the brevity of the prayer is striking.


Pater noster , folk wall decoration , published before 1900

The Lord's Prayer was given a firm place in the early Christian worship liturgy. According to Didache 8.2f, Christians should also pray it privately three times a day.

In the Catholic Church, the Lord's Prayer is part of Holy Mass , the prayer of the hours of Lauds and Vespers, as well as the rosary . It is also an integral part of worship in the Protestant churches in Germany. The capitularies of Charlemagne mandated that every Christian should be able to recite it by heart. Anyone who was unable to do this should not be admitted as a godfather (baptismal witness).


Our Father - the most famous prayer in the Christian world in Bulgarian original script: from Codex Assemanianus and from Codex Zographensis , 10th - 11th centuries, in Glagoliza ; from the Tetra Gospel book by Tsar Ivan Alexander , 1355, in Kyrilliza .

In the Orthodox Church , doxology is spoken by the priest in divine services and is left out entirely in private use. This practice was also common in the Roman Catholic and Old Catholic Churches before the liturgical reform. In the extraordinary form of the Roman rite , the first petitions of the Our Father are prayed by the celebrant; only the last request is shared by all, which is then followed by embolism with doxology.


In Holy Mass, between the petitions and the doxology, there is the embolism , which the priest sings or speaks before the closing verse in order to deepen and summarize the previous petitions:

“Deliver us, Lord Almighty Father, from all evil and give peace in our day. Come to our help with your mercy and keep us from confusion and sin, so that we may look forward to the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ with confidence. "


Interpretations of the Our Father have appeared in many ways since Tertullian , including in verse form as in a Bavarian exegesis of the 12th century in the meter of the Septenary .


In the history of Christianity and the history of profane music, the Lord's Prayer has been set to music often and in different ways.


The following compositions and traditional melodies are used in the liturgy :

Choral works, cantatas and oratorios

Works for choir (and orchestra) in the style of a motet , a cantata or an oratorio come from


Organ works

As a work for organ , prayer also appears in music history, including:

  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Our Father in the Kingdom of Heaven BWV 636, 682, 683, 737
  • Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy 6th Organ Sonata Op. 65 on "Our Father in the Kingdom of Heaven"
  • Max Gulbins : Our Father - 7 poems for organ (harmonium), op.29
  • Manfred Kluge : Our Father in Heaven - nine stanzas for organ (1963)
  • Pēteris Vasks : Pater noster (1991)

Other instrumental works

Orchestral works

Compositions on the Lord's Prayer for symphonic orchestra come from:

Electronic music

In the musical language of the electronic music of the 20th and 21st centuries, the prayer sounds at E Nomine .

Popular music

Folksong - or Schlager -like settings come from:

In rock and pop music , the Lord's Prayer was set to music by:

See also




  • Johann Christoph Adelung : Mithridates or general language studies with the Our Father as a language sample in almost five hundred languages ​​and dialects , five volumes. Original edition: Voss, Berlin 1806–1817; Reprint of the first edition: Olms Verlag, 1970.

Theology and prayer practice

Web links

Commons : Our Father  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Pater noster  - sources and full texts
Wikisource: Our Father  - Sources and full texts
Wiktionary: Our Father  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual documents and notes

  1. Manfred Seitz:  Art. Our Father III. . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie (TRE). Volume 34, de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2002, ISBN 3-11-017388-3 , pp. 516-527.
  2. ^ Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer : Basis preach. Foundations of the Christian Faith in Sermons. VTR, Nuremberg 2010, pp. 149–156: “Forgive other people”.
  3. Barbara Aland , Kurt Aland : Novum Testamentum Graece. 27th edition. German Bible Society, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-438-05115-X .
  4. ^ Erwin Nestle , Kurt Aland: Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine. 22nd edition. Stuttgart 1963
  5. Neil Douglas-Klotz: The Hidden Gospel. ARC, Edinburgh 2016, ISBN 978-1-5373-7373-7 .
  6. Ursula Schattner-Rieser : Abba. Our Father: The Lord's Prayer in the Context of Jewish-Aramaic Prayer Traditions in the Time of Jesus . In: Daniel A. Smith, Christoph Heil (ed.): Prayer in the Sayings Gospel Q (= WUNT, 425). Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen, 2019, ISBN 978-3-16-156660-8 , pp. 23–56.
  7. And let us save from our temptation so Günther Schwarz : What is reliably passed down? A text-critical examination of † Kurt Aland's publication “The New Testament - reliably handed down”. January 2009, p. 85 ( PDF 1 MB; 91 pages on jesus-forscher.de, accessed on October 20, 2019) is the more correct translation from the Aramaic text.
  8. And don't leave us alone in temptation see Pope Francis: “God does not lead us into temptation” on December 6, 2017 at www.vaticannews.va, accessed on October 20, 2019.
  9. ^ Evangelical Reformed Hymnal. Basel and Zurich 1998, p. 363 (No. 285).
  10. Georg Ludwig Hahn: The Theology of the New Testament. Dörffling & Franke, 1854, p. 287 f.
  11. ^ Horst Dieter Schlosser: Spaces of life and experience in Old Saxon texts. In: Andrea Hohmeyer, Jasmin S. Rühl, Ingo Wintermeyer (eds.): Searching for traces in linguistic and historical landscapes: Festschrift for Ernst Erich Metzner . LIT-Verlag, 2003, ISBN 978-3-8258-6565-8 , pp. 463-476, here: p. 464.
  12. text
  13. This word, which otherwise does not appear in Latin, is a loan translation by Hieronymus , who started out from the Greek ousia = Latin substantia and rendered the preposition epi with super . He assumed the meaning supernatural, supernatural .
  14. text
  15. apart from a few deviations, cf. Controversy between Bernhard and Abelard ( Memento from March 9, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  16. Walter Grundmann : The Gospel according to Matthew (=  theological hand commentary on the New Testament ; I). Evangelical Publishing House, Berlin 1967
  17. Joachim Gnilka : The Gospel of Matthew , 1st part (Herder's Theological Commentary on the New Testament) . Freiburg / Breisgau 1986, ISBN 3-451-20315-4 .
  18. Voderholzer criticizes the new translation of the Our Father's Catholic.de of November 29, 2017
  19. Pope calls for a new translation of Our Father's Time , December 7, 2017
  20. The Lord's Prayer remains. Churches in Germany do not want to change the text and contradict the Pope. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , December 17, 2017, p. 1.
  21. The Protestant theologian Thomas Wagner published an exegetical criticism of Pope Francis' comment: On a comment by Pope Francis on a request for the Lord's Prayer in German translations of the Bible. In: ReLÜ , review magazine for literary translation , December 2017.
  22. New Our Father for Italy's Catholics. In: orf.at . January 29, 2020, accessed February 5, 2020 .
  23. ^ So Rainer Riesner : Jesus as a teacher. An investigation into the origin of the Gospel tradition (= WUNT II, ​​Vol. 7). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1981, p. 446.
  24. Wiard Popkes : The Lord's Prayer. In: Das große Bibellexikon , Vol. 2. 1996, p. 635.
  25. Thomas Hieke: Structure and content of the source of logic. In: Logienquelle - Spruchquelle. German Bible Society : bibelwissenschaft.de, accessed on November 9, 2016.
  26. Wiard Popkes : The Lord's Prayer. In: The great Bible lexicon. 1996, Vol. 2, pp. 635-637.
  27. Martin Hengel , Anna Maria Schwemer : Jesus and Judaism. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-16-149359-1 , pp. 408, 417.
  28. Hengel, Schwemer: Jesus and Judaism. P. 417.
  29. Popkes: Prayer of the Lord , 1996, p. 636.
  30. Detailed interpretation in the Catechism of the Catholic Church , No. 2759–2856.
  31. Edgar Papp: Interpretation of the Our Father. In: Burghart Wachinger et al. (Hrsg.): The German literature of the Middle Ages. Author Lexicon . 2nd, completely revised edition, volume 1 ( 'A solis ortus cardine' - Colmar Dominican chronicler ). De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1978, ISBN 3-11-007264-5 , Sp. 554-556.
  32. ^ The Library of Congress Copyright Office USA. The Lord's Prayer ., Composer; John Serry Sr., September 2, 1992 #PAU 1-665-838