December 2002: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 3


“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

“In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.”

There is a prayer which is part of the service in almost every Christian denomination. It is called “the Lord’s prayer.” It is one of very few Christian prayers which does not either begin or end with “in Jesus’ name” or “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

I believe that this is because this is one prayer, perhaps the only one, which has survived intact from Jesus. It’s the prayer Jesus taught to his disciples when they asked him specifically what to say in prayer (Luke 11:1-4).
What I find most interesting about the Lord’s prayer is its similarity to the prayer submitters are taught to pray in the Quran —Al-Fatehah (The Key). This should not come as a surprise to submitters. We know that Jesus was a true messenger who preached to his people the worship of God alone. We know that Jesus delivered the very same message as all messengers before and after him.

In the New Testament book of Matthew, Jesus is teaching his disciples how to pray correctly. “When you are praying, do not behave like the hypocrites who love to stand and pray in synagogues or on street corners in order to be noticed.” (6:5)

Compare that to the Quran: “The hypocrites think that they are deceiving God, but He is the One who leads them on. When they get up for the Contact Prayer (Salat), they get up lazily. This is because they only show off in front of the people, and rarely do they think of God.” [4:142]. “And woe to those who observe the contact prayers (Salat), who are totally heedless of their prayers. They only show off.” [107:4-6]

When a Christian recites the Lord’s Prayer, he is truly obeying Jesus the messenger. In the church service I grew up attending, the Lord’s Prayer was preceded with the phrase: “ Jesus taught us to pray.” This is acknowledging Jesus as teacher, as scholar, as messenger of God.

The Lord’s Prayer, as I memorized it from the King James version [Matthew 6:9-13]:

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.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

In the newer, more accurate New American Bible, the words have been simplified and are easier to understand. And interestingly, the last line is not there at all. But in either version, this is clearly a prayer to God alone. And it’s easy to compare it to Al-Fatehah, the Key.

The first part of both prayers is naming God, acknowledging His power, and praising Him. We say, “Praise be to God.” We name Him “Lord of the universe,” and “Master of the Day of Judgment.” Christians recognize that God’s name is “hallowed,” and His will is done both on earth and in heaven.

Then both prayers ask for God’s help. We say, “You alone we worship. You alone we ask for help.” And then, “Guide us in the right path.” Christians ask for provisions: “Give us this day our daily bread,” and they ask for forgiveness: “forgive us the wrong we have done,” and they ask for guidance: “deliver us from the evil one.”

Clearly then, the Lord’s Prayer is a true prayer to God alone, taught to the disciples by Jesus, messenger of God. I wonder if the prayer which Jesus taught his disciples was, in fact, Al-Fatehah. Through time and translation perhaps the words were altered, but its meaning remains intact for Christians, for all submitters, of today.