The New Testament text that we know as the “Lord’s Prayer” (or the “Model Prayer”) is recorded in two places in the Gospels. In Luke 11, Jesus’ disciples come to him after he has finished praying. They ask him to instruct them to pray as John the Baptist taught his followers. Luke records what we know as “The Lord’s Prayer,” followed by a teaching about persevering in prayer before a gracious Father. In comparison, Matthew records a slightly longer version of this prayer in the middle of The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Here, the Prayer is bookended by Jesus’ teaching about what living by grace really looks like.
These two accounts are distinct but not contradictory. Luke tells the story of Jesus responding to the disciples’ private inquiry while Matthew recounts Jesus’ public teaching to a large crowd gathered on a mountainside. If anything, the fact that these accounts are almost identical supports the reliability of its witnesses and the veracity of the texts.
Here is Jesus’ prayer as recorded in Matthew 6:
9 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.”
Older translations such as the King James Version include an additional phrase at the end of verse 13: “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Though traditional recitations of the Prayer end with these familiar words, most modern translations note that the earliest manuscripts omit this phrase and that it was probably added later. Nonetheless, this phrase is a fitting, biblical finale to the Prayer, paraphrasing 1 Chronicles 29:11 where David proclaims,
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
Now that we’ve had a brief introduction to the Prayer, in the next section we’ll consider why prayer was so indispensable to Jesus’ disciples—both then and now.