4-The Lord’s prayer: “Our Father”

Compendium of the Catechism

  • What is the origin of the Our Father?
  • 2759-2760
  • Jesus taught us this Christian prayer for which there is no substitute, the Our Father, on the day on which one of his disciples saw him praying and asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). The Church’s liturgical tradition has always used the text of Saint Matthew (6:9-13).


One day, after Jesus had finished praying to his heavenly Father, one of his disciples said:  “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). It was then that he taught them the Our Father: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:9-13).

The Our Father should be our favourite prayer because God himself taught it to us.

Main ideas

  1. The Our Father the most important prayer

The most important prayer of Christians is the Our Father, the prayer the apostles learned from Jesus’ lips. Tertullian said that “the Lord’s prayer is truly the summary of the whole Gospel”. No doubt it is the most perfect, it being the prayer par excellence of the Church. It is always present in the liturgy and in the personal prayer of each faithful. We find it in the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the sacramentals, the Rosary, and so on.

  1. Jesus Christ taught us the Our Father

As we have seen, Jesus Christ taught us the words with which we have to address our heavenly Father. We are his children thanks to divine grace; we know that he loves us and that he is ready to give us whatever we ask in the name of his son Jesus Christ. The Our Father is the prayer most pleasing to God.

We should recite it with attention and devotion, conscious of what we say, so that our heart identifies with the words we pronounce. Doing so will help us to know the meaning of the words.

  1. The contents of the Our Father

The Our Father includes an initial invocation and seven petitions. The first three petitions refer to the glory of God: the sanctification of his name, the coming of his kingdom and the fulfilment of his divine will. The other four present to the Father our desires and needs.

Initial invocation: Our Father who art in heaven. We address God, our Father and Lord, recognizing ourselves as his creatures and children. We say “our”, because the Lord is our God and we are his people, members of the Church and brothers of all men.

1st petition: Hallowed be thy name. We ask that the holy name of God –only He is infinitely holy— be recognized and honoured by ourselves and in ourselves, in every nation and in every man.

2nd petition: Thy kingdom come. We ask God to reign in our souls through grace, to extend his reign to the whole world, and to grant us the kingdom of his heavenly glory.

3rd petition: Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. We ask that all of us who live in this world may unite our will to that of his son Jesus Christ, so that we may always do his will as the saints do in heaven.

4th petition: Give us this day our daily bread. We ask God to give us whatever we need for the sustenance and protection of our bodily and spiritual life.

5th petition: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. We ask God’s mercy to forgive us our sins. But this is impossible if we do not sincerely forgive, following Jesus’ example and with his help, those who have done us any harm.

6th petition: Lead us not into temptation. We ask God’s assistance to overcome temptations and persevere in his grace; and that implies discernment, fortitude, vigilance and the great grace of final perseverance.

7th petition: Deliver us from evil. Christians –along with the Church— ask God to manifest the victory gained by Christ over Satan, prince of all demons, who opposes head-on God and his saving plan. We ask God to deliver us from all evils, especially from sin and eternal death.

To confirm our petitions we add Amen, which is to say: thus I ask from the Lord and thus I hope to receive from his divine mercy. Amen means “May it be so.” It expresses the desire that what has been requested, be granted.

  1. To pray the Our Father with devotion

Since the Our Father is so beautiful and so pleasing to God, logically we should try to say it with special attention. We cannot recite it like a machine pronouncing the words with our lips while our mind and heart are elsewhere; we have to recite it with attention and devotion.

Resolutions for Christian life

Resolutions to move forward

  • Review – get to know very well – the Our Father and the Hail Mary.
  • Pray with attention and devotion all vocal prayers, especially the Our Father and the Hail Mary.
  • Meditate once in a while the Our Father and the Hail Mary to better understand what we pray.
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