Well, this isn’t really a post about misheard lyrics to songs known as mondegreens. But I did think about two common mondegreens in the Lord’s Prayer. The first is in illustrated in this cartoon:
The second is “Our Father Witch,” a very scary sounding creature that was the subject of a short story by Wilbur Daniel Steele called, “The Man Who Saw Through Heaven. I searched in vain for an online version of this fascinating story.
James McGrath mentions the trouble with translating the word traditionally rendered as “daily’” in the Lord’s prayer. The question of how to translate “bread” is also worth considering. It seems redundant to say, “Give us today our daily bread.” Would that be evidence for an alternate reading of “Give us today the bread we need.” Finally, I would probably want to say something like “Give us today the food we need.” or simply, “We look to you to provide for our needs today.” “Bread” here is an example of synecdoche in which a specific type of something is used to represent everything in its class. So bread could refer to food. It could also refer to provision in general: food, clothing, housing, etc.
Personally, despite being someone who advocates idiomatic translations, I’ve had my children memorize the traditional rendering for the sake of taking part in Church liturgy. The only problem is my kids have no idea what the prayer is talking about. And I think that’s pretty true for most people who recite the traditional version.
Just for fun, here’s a Lingamish attempt at a different rendering of the original Greek:
We lift up your name as holy.
Reign as king on earth just as you do in heaven.
We look to you to provide our needs today.
You have forgiven the debt we owed you
So we will forgive all those who are in our debt.
Guide us around difficulties
And rescue us from evil.
Does that capture the meaning of the original for you? What was lost in translation? See the NeXt Bible for a comparison of versions of Matthew 6:11 and commentaries on the Greek word for “daily.”