New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Teaching About Prayer. 5 “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 7 [a]In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.[b] 8 Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Our Father in heaven,[d]
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,[e]
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.(B)
11 [f](C)Give us today our daily bread;
12 and forgive us our debts,[g]
as we forgive our debtors;(D)
13 and do not subject us to the final test,[h]
but deliver us from the evil one.(E)
- 6:7–15 Matthew inserts into his basic traditional material an expansion of the material on prayer that includes the model prayer, the “Our Father.” That prayer is found in Lk 11:2–4 in a different context and in a different form.
- 6:7 The example of what Christian prayer should be like contrasts it now not with the prayer of the hypocrites but with that of the pagans. Their babbling probably means their reciting a long list of divine names, hoping that one of them will force a response from the deity.
- 6:9–13 Matthew’s form of the “Our Father” follows the liturgical tradition of his church. Luke’s less developed form also represents the liturgical tradition known to him, but it is probably closer than Matthew’s to the original words of Jesus.
- 6:9 Our Father in heaven: this invocation is found in many rabbinic prayers of the post-New Testament period. Hallowed be your name: though the “hallowing” of the divine name could be understood as reverence done to God by human praise and by obedience to his will, this is more probably a petition that God hallow his own name, i.e., that he manifest his glory by an act of power (cf. Ez 36:23), in this case, by the establishment of his kingdom in its fullness.
- 6:10 Your kingdom come: this petition sets the tone of the prayer, and inclines the balance toward divine rather than human action in the petitions that immediately precede and follow it. Your will be done, on earth as in heaven: a petition that the divine purpose to establish the kingdom, a purpose present now in heaven, be executed on earth.
- 6:11 Give us today our daily bread: the rare Greek word epiousios, here daily, occurs in the New Testament only here and in Lk 11:3. A single occurrence of the word outside of these texts and of literature dependent on them has been claimed, but the claim is highly doubtful. The word may mean daily or “future” (other meanings have also been proposed). The latter would conform better to the eschatological tone of the whole prayer. So understood, the petition would be for a speedy coming of the kingdom (today), which is often portrayed in both the Old Testament and the New under the image of a feast (Is 25:6; Mt 8:11; 22:1–10; Lk 13:29; 14:15–24).
- 6:12 Forgive us our debts: the word debts is used metaphorically of sins, “debts” owed to God (see Lk 11:4). The request is probably for forgiveness at the final judgment.
- 6:13 Jewish apocalyptic writings speak of a period of severe trial before the end of the age, sometimes called the “messianic woes.” This petition asks that the disciples be spared that final test.
- 6:14–15 These verses reflect a set pattern called “Principles of Holy Law.” Human action now will be met by a corresponding action of God at the final judgment.