Hebrew background to the Lord’s Prayer « The Rosh Pina Project

Lord's Prayer in biblical languages_2135
The Lord's Prayer in the Biblical Languages, image by hoyasmeg via Flickr

The Rosh Pina Project posted this a couple of days ago:  Hebrew background to the Lord’s Prayer.

Yeshua teaches this prayer as the model for how we are to pray, yes we can pray it as it is (how many of do that as part of our prayer life?), but let’s learn the lessons about who prayer is addressed to, remembering that we pray Avinu, Yeshua prayed Avi! The Father sanctified the son and we sanctify the Father’s name in this world.  This kind of prayer reminds us of the creeping Kingdom reality infusing our own lives. Prayer is not a selfish shopping list. And one of Yeshua’s favorite themes was forgiveness – forgive as we have been forgiven. Though temptation may come we can have the hope and belief to pray that it is not inevitable that we fall into it.

The analysis is very good, but there is an aspect to the Lord’s Prayer that I thought was overlooked:  Why did Yeshua decide to give His disciples a new prayer in place of, for example, the traditional Amidah or Kaddish?  Especially when the prayer He gave is far less explicitly Messianic than most of the traditional liturgy?   A couple of possibilities present themselves:

First, Yeshua gave this short and easily-memorized prayer in anticipation for the great influx into His assembly of not only Jews familiar with the synagogue liturgy, but also Gentiles who would need a liturgical prayer that they could say with their new brothers almost immediately.

Second, the almost total lack of Messianic expectation or fulfillment in the prayer may well have been in anticipation of the general tendency in Christianity to emphasize the Son to the point that the Father is almost forgotten.  Whenever we recite this prayer together, it is a reminder to us that it is Avinu, Our Father, who forgives, redeems, and provides for us.  “For God (our Father) so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Yeshua is the Divine Presence made flesh, the Living Torah, the instrument of the Holy One’s will to bring us out of bondage to sin and the world, and our King, but He was never to take the place of the Father as the object of our prayers, as the prayer He Himself gave us demonstrates.



One Reply to “Hebrew background to the Lord’s Prayer « The Rosh Pina Project”

  1. Thanks for your comments on my article, interesting question to ask why Yeshua taught a new prayer at all. Not even thought to ask that question, but will be thinking about it now.



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