Our Father Question

My uncle is an evangelical protestant who is very liberal in theology. Whenever the subject of the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer comes up, he always makes the ridiculous claim that it is merely a template for prayer as opposed to an actual prayer (he doesn’t believe in any pre-written prayers). I know that this is untrue, but how can I counteract this claim?

PS: Please pray for his conversion.

I think I know how to answer but it will be confusing ::rotfl: I will leave this to a more seasoned Catholic like CrusaderBear or Tawny.

:signofcross:Praying for your Uncle:signofcross:

The prayer taught to us by Jesus.

"The Lord’s Prayer “is truly the summary of the whole gospel.” “Since the Lord…after handling over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, ‘Ask and you will receive,’ and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer (the Lord’s Prayer) is said first, as the foundation of further desires.”

  • Tertullian, De orat.
    from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 2761.

I was brought up in a more Baptist tradition so I understand from where your Uncle takes his position.
In the tradition I was brought up in, the Lord’s Prayer is BOTH a rote prayer and a template upon which to base prayer… not an either or.
BTW: even for Catholics, this position of the Our Father being both a rote prayer and a template is not out of line with how the Church views prayer.

Without knowing which particular evangelical branch of Christianity your Uncle follows I don’t see an easy way to proceed beyond this point; however, most of the “main stream” Christian churches have the Lord’s Prayer as part of their liturgy… I know that every Baptist Service I ever went to, we recited this prayer. :shrug:

The Lord said, “This is how you are to pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…’” (Matthew 6:9-13). A similar version is found in Luke 11:2-4. So it’s a prayer! There’s nothing wrong with using it to build a bigger prayer, as protestants seem to love to do!

Both gospel versions do not include the ending sentence found in the Protestant version, “For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory now and forever.”

Tawny’s answer seems pretty good on this topic. Look at the way it’s used to start a decade in the rosary…it’s an opening to a bigger set of prayers!

I have also heard the teaching that the Lord’s prayer is just a sample of prayer. But by the time of Jesus there were set prayers in the synagogue. So if Jesus went and participated in services, which the scripture shows that he did, even he himself would have recited pre-written prayers. We also see him praying many prayers from his own heart. Both forms of prayer are very acceptable to our Lord.

Jesus gave us a beautiful prayer that we can pray word for word. I don’t know why he would give us a prayer meaning for us not to pray it.

That’s odd. Doesn’t he read his Bible?
It’s in there.
He can look it up.
It’s the prayer that Christ offered to God the Father. That’s should be good enough for anyone.

The Lord’s prayer is a beautiful prayer that Jesus taught the Apostle’s to say, as away to pray. There are a great many prayers written down why? because many people liked the prayers and wanted to be able to say them because it said something of what or how they felt and wanted also to convey. remember whenever anyone says or recited any of the Psalms we are praying what they prayed. There certainty nothing wrong in making whatever prayer one wants nor is anything wrong in saying prayer that one learned or was written down that ones to pray.

Remember there are some people who do not really  know what to say when praying so say prayers that have been written down like the Lord's Prayer. Not everyone is gifted that way. What I think is important is how the prayer is said whether its the Lord's Prayer or some other prayer or one that one says as long as its said from the heart. When we pray we are speaking to God and he knows whether or not what one says in their prayer to Him if its from the heart or not. its not really whether or not one says a Prayer that has been written down or one that is not pre written. The Lord's Prayer says it all.

There is nothing that is non-Catholic about your Uncle’s point. In fact Jesus makes the same points leading up to the Lord’s prayer that we should not repeat words for their own sake, and also that our Father knows what is in our hearts before we pray and that we should pray in private.

So you should encourage your Uncle and support his assertions.

Meanwhile, we also know that Jesus did give us this prayer and that for many of us, the prayer is easy to remember, and since we know it contains Jesus’ wisdom, we want to get it right so that we can contemplate it each time we say it. So we don’t HAVE to use it as a template and try to make up our own, we can use it directly.

I have heard it said by one of our priests who used to be a Baptist, that Catholicism includes everything that the Baptists have.There is nothing that is Baptist that isn’t also Catholic. But, Catholicism has some additionally things - or the fullness of the faith. Try to remember that when you talk to your Uncle. He should find it comforting that everything that he believes is Catholic.

Well… I’m not sure that’s entirely true. Supporting his uncle? Good thing. Supporting his assertions? :nope:

I have heard it said by one of our priests who used to be a Baptist, that Catholicism includes everything that the Baptists have.There is nothing that is Baptist that isn’t also Catholic.

Baptists believe in Sola Scriptura. They believe that there is no ordained priesthood, but just a priesthood of all believers. Many have beliefs about baptism that are at odds with the Catholic understanding of the sacraments.

So, to say that everything Baptists believe, Catholics believe… well, it just doesn’t hold up. :shrug:

But, Catholicism has some additionally things - or the fullness of the faith. Try to remember that when you talk to your Uncle. He should find it comforting that everything that he believes is Catholic.

Frankenfurter makes a good point – you might want to discern whether you get into this with your uncle.

However, if you do decide to address this, you might ask him if he’s read Deuteronomy 6:

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.

Take to heart these words which I command you today.
Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up.

– Deuteronomy 6:4-7

There are two good points to be made here. First, the prayer we see here, beginning at Deuteronomy 6:4, is called the “Sh’ma” (which is the first word of the prayer, “hear”). We see that God commands two things: to teach this prayer to their children, and more importantly, to recite it “at home and away, when you lie down and when you get up.” So, we see that God does command “repetitive prayer”.

Second, we should note that not only do Jews pray this prayer to this very day, but also, that Jesus – as a Jew who observed the Mosaic Law and worshiped faithfully – would have recited this prayer daily. Therefore, it doesn’t stand to reason that Jesus himself would have participated in a repetitive prayer but would have told his followers (themselves Jews!) not to do so.

It’s both. :thumbsup:


…people (specially the “smart ones”) seem to always get into it in the “over-the-head” kind of dilemma…

Jesus offering a “template” prayer…

Why was it written down?

What is the meaning of “template?”

Why do non-Catholics, who hold to such contrived rendering of Biblical interpretation (‘Bible is saying “no pre-written prayers”’), are compelled to read and recommend every single book written by non-Catholics on religious and other matters–does the “no pre-written” rule not apply?

…what of Sacred Scriptures? Shouldn’t the Apostles not Write down anything since Jesus did not “Command” them to write it down… after all, His Command was to “Teach” and “Preach” and “Baptize?”

…finally, does your uncle not realize that “liberalism” is simply another form of subjectivism–‘I want what I want and I want it how I want it and I want it NOW?’

…what happened to Humble Obedience to God?

Maran atha!


Hi, Clare!

…the point they are trying to make (‘no pre-written prayers’) is that the Catholic Church Mass is a bit choreographed prayer… hence, to their understanding, it is oh so wrong!

…every noticed how non-Catholic “preachers” can take a few words from Scriptures and go on for several hours?

'…that’s “good work” ‘cause it’s all original, nothing pre-written down…’

‘…that Catholic stuff it’s just repeated pre-written down nonsense.’ (taken some poetic licensing here)

…I have one visual for you and them… ever catch a little bit of Billy Graham (hope got the name correct)… specially when he was mimicked by the Spanish Language translator? …talk about rehearsed and choreographed!

…it’s the “plank” vs. the “speck”–they can’t see the error!

Maran atha!



…the greatest error is not identifying what “prayer” is.

It is not about what I want or need or desire or how great or lowly or if I can beat someone else’s… it’s about Communicating with God… who has the best “in” or “perfect” prayer?

Not a single human being:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]26 The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, 27 and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.

(Romans 8:26-27)
…so if we Come to God with an eloquent ten thousand plus impromptu prayer or a wonderfully constructed written prayer or a simple lowly and indecisive prayer or even in humble silence… it is the Holy Spirit, He Who Searches our hearts and minds, that will Convey our Offering to God, in the Way that is Pleasing to Him!

…everything else is man’s construct which has the tendency of running into pitfalls.

Maran atha!




…so no “pre-written prayers?”

…so the Catholic Church should just chuck out the Mass?

Maran atha!


The Our Father is beautiful. It addresses any concern you may have at any moment in your life in such a brief and meaningful way.

Our Father, Who art in heaven - praying to our Father
Hallowed be Thy Name; - recognizing God’s sacredness
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
- praying that God leads us according to his will
Give us this day our daily bread, - praying that God provides for our earthly needs
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
- praying that God forgives our sins and reminding ourselves to forgive others throughout our day.
**and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen. ** - praying that God leads us away from evil and temptation during our day.

The prayer is all we need to help us through the day. There is nothing wrong in expanding on the prayer, but why do you need to? It’s perfect as it is.

Hi jcichton: yes I knew that St. teresa of Avlia said prayer is talking to God a conversation. Another way of putting it for me prayer is a surge of the heart it is a simple look turned towards heaven it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trail and joy. In the Our Father Jesus teaches us how to pray; in it is a prayer of blessing and adoration, prayer of petition, prayer of intercession, prayer of thanksgiving, a prayer of praise.

The Our Father is a summary of the whole Gospel. In the Our Father we say God is our Father and hallowed is His name, that is God’s name is Holy and to be respected. We ask that His Kingdom to come to us and that God’s will be done on earth just as God’s will is done in heaven. We ask God to give us His daily bread which in asking we ask for His covenant and what he knows we need and we ask God to forgive us what sins we commit against man just as we forgive those who who commit sins against us and we ask God not to allow us to be temped but to deliver us from temptations.

It is the perfect prayer because its the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. I think since it was Jesus Himself that taught us this beautiful prayer we should say it. If it were not meant to be prayed then why would Jesus teach us this prayer?

Most hymns are prayers, that’s why they are sung in all churches as a form of worship. We don’t make up new words to the songs every time we pray in this manner. The Psalms are a good template for other songs, but they are still prayers by themselves.

Furthermore, specific prayers like the Lord’s prayer recited, or songs that are sung are especially useful in community prayers when everyone can unite in unity as one voice.

It struck me one time when a Protestant friend was leading a short prayer that some of the words that he was saying where not my prayer, but only his personal prayer. I literally couldn’t pray with him in that sense. On the other hand, we could have said the Lord’s prayer together with private intentions no problem.

Prayers from the heart where we say what we need to say are very good in private prayers as they help to foster a personal relationship with Jesus. But in liturgical or community settings, rote prayers are better as it fosters both the relationship with Jesus, and the relationship with his family, the other members of the body of Christ. Both are rooted in the two greatest commandments, love of God and neighbor (Matt 22:37-40)

Hi, Nap!

…and it’s the only other place where God has included a clause:

“forgive us our trespass as we forgive those who trespass against us”

Maran atha!


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