I have spent some time reflecting on the Lord’s Prayer this week – especially the opening word in the original language: “Father” (because I’m working on a sermon for Father’s Day).
Now, I am hardly what you would call a Greek scholar. What I learned in school is a bit rusty, but I was struck by some of the things that you see when you read it in the original language. The prayer, as it originally appears in the Gospel of Matthew is in Greek, although Jesus himself likely spoke Aramaic and would have prayed in that language.
The prayer, at least as it appears in Greek, has a poetic structure that is simply impossible to get across in an English translation. When you read it in the original, you see that most of the prayers and petitions are written in parallel phrases.
The first word is “Father.” The second word is “of us.” From there the prayer seems to bounce back and forth from the deeds of God to the needs of humanity – from the concerns of heaven to the concerns of earth.
The pattern is repeated too many times for it just to be an accident. I think that Jesus (or his Greek translator) wanted us to understand something from this structure. But unfortunately, we English readers can’t see this structure. That is why I created this graphic which lays out the Lord’s Prayer by maintaining (for the most part) the actual word order in the Greek.
Can you see the structure? What do you think we are supposed to learn from it?