Is the "Our Father/Lords Prayer" an actual prayer we should be saying?


I am trying to wonder if “Our Father/Lords Prayer” is an actual prayer we should be saying at mass or at our homes. This was a debate that my girl brought up. I was always taught to say this prayer and it’s a prayer I hold close and believe it should be prayed. However I don’t have the background or reasoning why we should pray it. She says it’s only a “model” prayer.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I am not looking for an opinion but an actual answer from somebody who is credited by the Church to preach.


It’s both. We can pray the Our Father, and we can use it as a model upon which to form our prayers. It works both ways.


I certainly couldn’t doubt the words of Jesus, the divine Son.
He is the ultimate authority on how to address the Father, so why should we doubt His word?
It is not the only prayer we can rightly offer. Prayer takes many forms, but it is definitely not the case that we shouldn’t pray "The Lord’s own Prayer!

Luke 11:1-13)

1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’ “

Catechism of the Catholic Church



2759 Jesus "was praying at a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’"1 In response to this request the Lord entrusts to his disciples and to his Church the fundamental Christian prayer. St. Luke presents a brief text of five petitions,2 while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions.3 The liturgical tradition of the Church has retained St. Matthew’s text:

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, 9-15“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.’

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Whatever opinons people may hold, in their quest for truth, these are words given us to pray by our divine Redeemer Himself.
God bless you and your inquiring daughter.


Q: Is your daughter Catholic? If so, does she have close friends who are not? I ask because many non-Catholics do not understand the scriptures well and think that any repeated prayer is “vain repetition”. Of course, this is nonsense, as our Lord taught us exactly one prayer.

Not two.


The Lord’s prayer.

Yet, repetition in prayer was taught by Christ! In that single prayer, as well as His example in the Garden of Gethsemane - where He prayed to the Father three times using the same words! What, did God not hear Him the first two times?


As well, the Psalms are prayers. Look at the prayer contained in Psalm 136. “For His mercy endures forever” appears 26 times! Do those who believe falsely that repetitive prayer is “vain” condemn the Psalm writer? Do they condemn our Lord?

Anyway, the Lord’s prayer is considered to be the perfect prayer - but it must be offered form the heart and with as much faith as one can muster.

Be at peace when you pray it!


A model is exactly that in this case: it is a pattern to use OR it may be used itself exactly.


The Lord’s prayer is a perfect prayer, and a school of prayer. It teaches us to pray:

  1. when we contemplate a God who loves us
  2. when we pray with others, by the simple word “our.”
  3. to glorify God’s name
  4. to hope for the kingdom
  5. to appreciate God’s will
  6. to be grateful for our daily bread
  7. to be forgiven
  8. to forgive, as God forgives
  9. to follow Jesus, even to the hard places
  10. to live with evil left behind.

For every moment of our lives, we can find a way to pray appropriately. When something good happens, when evil threatens, when we share a meal, when we need forgiveness…the prayer is a model for those times, for any time, to remember how our father sustains us with his love.


The Didache said to pray it three times a day, and that’s one of the oldest non-Scriptural Christian writings we have. As a result, I’m inclined to believe that the Apostles understood the Our Father as a prayer that we should literally pray, which is why it has continued on as a popular prayer, so much so as to have a good chunk of the Catechism dedicated to it, for the last 2000 years.


Imagine if Jesus did just mean it to be an example and now God has to hear it billions of times a day.


Jesus literally said, “when you pray, say ‘Our Father…’”

That doesn’t sound like a ‘model’; it sounds like a command: “say this”. :man_shrugging:


Remember one thing when praying the Our Father, in this prayer we ask for “our daily bread.” This does not refer to actual food, but receiving the Holy Eucharist. If you are praying the Our Father every day, then you’re asking to receive our Lord every day. If that’s the case, you should make every effort to receive daily Communion.


Actually, according to Church teaching, it does refer to actual food. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:


2828 " Give us ": The trust of children who look to their Father for everything is beautiful. “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” He gives to all the living “their food in due season.” Jesus teaches us this petition, because it glorifies our Father by acknowledging how good he is, beyond all goodness.

2829 “Give us” also expresses the covenant. We are his and he is ours, for our sake. But this “us” also recognizes him as the Father of all men and we pray to him for them all, in solidarity with their needs and sufferings.

2830 " Our bread ": The Father who gives us life cannot not but give us the nourishment life requires - all appropriate goods and blessings, both material and spiritual. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus insists on the filial trust that cooperates with our Father’s providence. He is not inviting us to idleness, but wants to relieve us from nagging worry and preoccupation. Such is the filial surrender of the children of God:

To those who seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, he has promised to give all else besides. Since everything indeed belongs to God, he who possesses God wants for nothing, if he himself is not found wanting before God.

2831 But the presence of those who hunger because they lack bread opens up another profound meaning of this petition. The drama of hunger in the world calls Christians who pray sincerely to exercise responsibility toward their brethren, both in their personal behavior and in their solidarity with the human family. This petition of the Lord’s Prayer cannot be isolated from the parables of the poor man Lazarus and of the Last Judgment.

There is so much more after that, including the paragraphs that confirm the meaning you include, that of the Blessed Sacrament.

You can read the entire passage – it is a beautiful refelction! – here:


One thing which many disregard today is when our Lord (not Paul and not one of the 12) tells us “You have heard it said… but I tell you…

With that, He is the Lawgiver of lawgivers. He is forever altering that which went before. Time to listen up!

The same with the only prayer He ever taught that has been recorded: “This is how you pray…” is not a mere suggestion and nowhere do the scriptures even hint that it was a model. That is man-made post-reformation nonsense. Find in any of these English translations even a hint that it was a “model”


Thank You Everyone ^^


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