Brad Stevens : Austin, TX

... A Historical Account of the Most Well Known Prayer in the Christian Religion

If you have your speakers turned on, you are listening to the Lord's Prayer spoken in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. You may replay the prayer at any time by clicking on the arrow:

The Lord's Prayer, sometimes known by its first two Latin words as the Pater Noster, or the English equivalent 'Our Father', is probably the most well-known prayer in the Christian religion. The Lord's Prayer is excerpted from Matt. 6:9-13 during the Sermon on the Mount. A similar prayer is found on Luke 11:2-4.

It is called the "Lord's Prayer" because it was the prayer given by Jesus in response to a request from the Apostles for guidance on how to pray. Most Christian theologians point out that Jesus would have never used this prayer himself, for it specifically asks for forgiveness of sins or, more literally, for cancellation of debts, and in most schools of Christian thought, Christ never sinned. However since it says "forgive us our sins", not "forgive me my sins", Christ might have prayed it by way of identifying himself with the common plight of man and of asking for the forgiveness of the sins of his disciples.

It should be noted that the doxology (For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen) was not present in the original version of the prayer, but rather was added to the Gospels as a result of its use in the liturgy of the early church. For this reason, it is not included in many modern translations.

Biblical scholars disagree about Jesus' meaning in the Lord's Prayer. Some view it as "existential," referring to man's present experience on earth, while others interpret it as "eschatological," referring to the coming Kingdom of God. The prayer itself lends to both interpretations, and further questions are posed by the existence of other translations and the problems inherent in the process of translation.

It has always been of great interest as to the many different interpretations of the various aspects of what is offered as foundational information about Jesus the Nazarene, what he said and taught, and how translations over the centuries have changed dramatically sometimes even altering the original meaning of a particular text.

Aramaic manuscripts have been uncovered over the years which provide us with original source documents that can be fairly well authenticated. Beginning with Constantine around 325 AD, dramatic changes began to be infused into interpretations as texts were translated from Aramaic into Greek and then into Latin. In later years there was then translations into old English, and later, more translations into modern English.

The Aramaic Language, the language of Jesus, doesn't distinguish between means and purpose, inside quality or outside acting. Both are given simultaneously as in "what you've sown, so you'll harvest." When Jesus relates to the "Kingdom of Heaven" he means the Kingdom inside as well as the Kingdom in the middle or "amongst" us. Also "the next one" is inside and outside as in the whole or Self. The arbitrary borders between spirit, body and soul are nonexistent.

The Aramaic Language has (like the Hebrew and Arabic) different levels of meaning. The words are organized and defined by a poetical system where different meanings of every word are possible. So, every line of the Lords Prayer could be translated into English in many different versions. As an example of how the intent of a passage can be changed, here are some translations of the Lord's Prayer directly translated from the ancient Aramaic language into modern English:

The Prayer To Our Father
(in the original Aramaic)

("Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes,)

(who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.)

Nethkādasch schmach
(May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.)

Tźtź malkuthach.
(Your Heavenly Domain approaches.)

Nehwź tzevjānach aikāna d'bwaschmāja af b'arha.
(Let Your will come true - in the universe (all that vibrates)
just as on earth (that is material and dense).)

Hawvlān lachma d'sūnkanān jaomāna.
(Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,)

Waschboklān chaubźn wachtahźn aikāna
daf chnān schwoken l'chaijabźn.
(detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma) like we let go the guilt of others.)

Wela tachlān l'nesjuna
(Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),)

ela patzān min bischa.
(but let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.)

Metol dilachie malkutha wahaila wateschbuchta l'ahlām almīn.
(From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act, the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.)

(Sealed in trust, faith and truth. (I confirm with my entire being))

Lords Prayer Translated from Aramaic
A Translation of "Our Father" directly from Aramaic into English

O cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration. Soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us where your Presence can abide.

Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit of your mission.

Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire.

Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share what each being needs to grow and flourish.

Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.

Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose, but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.

For you are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth, power and fulfillment, as all is gathered and made whole once again.

Lords Prayer, from the original Aramaic
Translation by Neil Douglas-Klotz in Prayers of the Cosmos

O Birther! Father- Mother of the Cosmos

Focus your light within us - make it useful.

Create your reign of unity now-

through our fiery hearts and willing hands

Help us love beyond our ideals

and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.

Animate the earth within us: we then

feel the Wisdom underneath supporting all.

Untangle the knots within

so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to each other.

Don't let surface things delude us,

But free us from what holds us back from our true purpose.

Out of you, the astonishing fire,

Returning light and sound to the cosmos.


Lords Prayer, from Aramaic into Old English
Translation by G.J.R. Ouseley from The Gospel of the Holy Twelve

Our Father-Mother Who art above and within:

Hallowed be Thy Name in twofold Trinity.

In Wisdom, Love and Equity Thy Kingdom come to all.

Thy will be done, As in Heaven so in Earth.

Give us day by day to partake of Thy holy Bread, and the fruit of the living Vine.

As Thou dost forgive us our trespasses, so may we forgive others who trespass against us.

Shew upon us Thy goodness, that to others we may shew the same.

In the hour of temptation, deliver us from evil.



Copyright © 2000 BRAD STEVENS all rights reserved worldwide
Austin, Texas