Have you ever been to a church service where the congregation recited what we often call The Lord’s Prayer? I think it’s fine to memorize it as scripture. If the purpose of congregational recital is to learn the Word, there’s nothing wrong with reciting it in church. But I don’t think Jesus was telling us to repeat it verbatim as our prayer. To understand why, let’s look at what Matthew Chapter 6 says immediately before the words, “Our Father in Heaven.”
Matthew records Jesus saying, “This, then, is how you should pray.” Notice he said “how” you should pray, not “what” you should say. I believe this is the important part. Isn’t Jesus giving us an example, a model prayer, in the following verses?
It seems clear to me Jesus is telling us to talk to the Father; to do so humbly; to ask for forgiveness; and to ask that we are able to avoid temptation rather than to recite scripture during prayer. Consider, he just got through saying not to be like pagans who feel they will be heard because of many words.
What are your thoughts on The Lord’s Prayer?