What I Mean When I Pray The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven 

“Heaven” is wherever God is. God is the power/source/principle-of-rationality at the core of the universe and of all that is.


Hallowed be your Name 

This power/source/principle is beyond all final knowing or naming and can only be beheld in awe.


Your kingdom come 

The world and universe are not complete, but are constantly and ever evolving – we pray — into a better, more just and peaceful future.


Your will be done on earth as in heaven 

A sign of that ongoing evolution is our work in building a more just and peaceful planet.


Give us this day our daily bread 

We desire, hope, and even expect that our basic human needs will be provided for.


Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us 

We cannot expect mercy unless we are willing to grant it.


Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil 

We seek protection from destructive powers without and within.


For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.


Ultimate sovereignty, power, and honor are due to no other being or system for all eternity. These things belong only to God.



5 Responses to “What I Mean When I Pray The Lord’s Prayer”

  1. thomas bushnell, bsg Says:

    it’s ok if this isn’t what i mean, right?

  2. ecubishop Says:


    That is why I did not title my post “what Thomas means when he prays the Lord’s Prayer.”

  3. Ann Says:

    We had an exercise of writing our own version of the Lord’s prayer. Here is what I said:
    Holy One, you nurture and guide us,
    your name is so holy we hesitate to say it.
    May your banquet of abundance be open to all creation today and always.
    Forgive us for our failure to live up to your image of us
    and help us to forgive others who also fail.
    Be present with us through the trials, sorrows and joys of life
    Glory to you forever

  4. thomas bushnell, bsg Says:

    i should say that perhaps my question came across sharper than i ever intended. indeed, i think that what you write is part of what i mean. but then, i think i mean things when i pray the Lord’s Prayer that i don’t even know i mean. i would never be able to write a post that said it was what i mean when i pray the Lord’s Prayer, because i know that i would be leaving out more than i put in. (but this is surely taking your intention not where you were trying to make it go; i’m not trying to make a criticism.)

    for me this is tied up with an on-the-ground issue in liturgy. i have often had the occasion in which a text like the Lord’s Prayer has been replaced with something else, which was inevitably less than the original. i feel a little like this with the NZ Prayer Book. it’s filled with beautiful language, but precisely because of the style of language, its words can only mean one thing. the sparer words of the traditional forms of Western liturgy, well-exemplified by both old and new texts from the 1979 BCP, become capable of meaning many, many different things, of including vast amounts within their sparse phrases.

    you weren’t proposing your meanings as alterations in liturgy, of course. but, alas, there have been many who have done exactly that. i was at a presbyterian service a few months ago in which we used a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer. everything in it was orthodox, and was certainly part of what the Lord’s Prayer says, but the result was that it was also less and that the meaning had been reduced and even forced.

  5. ecubishop Says:

    Thanks, Thomas. That was a helpful clarification.

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