Luke gives more importance to Jesus’ practice of praying than do any of the other Gospels. The only prayer that Jesus’ explicitly taught his disciples was the “Our Father”. This prayer appears only in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. While in Matthew, the prayer appears as part of the Sermon on the Mount; Luke explicitly has Jesus praying himself when he is asked by his disciples to teach them to pray. The following elements of the Matthean prayer are not found in Luke: “Our … who art in heaven…Thy will be done on earth as it is heaven… but deliver us from evil. This has the effect of making the prayer simple and direct in Luke. Both Matthew and Luke understood the prayer as a prayer of the community and have use the first person plural to stress this. While the prayer in Matthew contains seven petitions, the prayer in Luke contains only five. It is agreed by many that the Lukan version is probably closer to the original prayer that Jesus taught. By petitioning God for the most basic of our needs like “bread”, the prayer is basically a prayer of dependence. It is an acknowledgement of the fact that we cannot manage even this simple task on our own, and we need God’s goodness to provide it to us. Just as we need bread we also need God’s forgiveness, because if He were to keep a grudge against us for every time we sinned, we would be lost. In this context it must be noted that nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus tell us that we must be “sorry” for our sins if we want forgiveness. Rather if we want to be forgiven, we must forgive. Our forgiveness of others opens our hearts to receive the forgiveness that God constantly gives. The prayer is therefore not merely a prayer therefore, but an attitude, a way of life.
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