How innovative was Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6? Was he reinforcing a received mode of prayer or was he introducing something new? Throughout the Sermon on the Mount we see Jesus’ taking established religious knowledge and putting a spin on it (“You have heard it said… but I say to you…” ) and the opening “Blessed are…” phrases seem to overturn conventional notions of blessedness while also moving from the individualism of Psalm 1 (“Blessed is the man…”) to collective blessing (“Blessed are…”). In this case, Jesus is undoubtedly introducing innovation or why else would he need to give them a model at all? But what is he departing from? What is formula and what is innovation in the Lord’s Prayer?
This question stood out for me in my previous post in which my rendering of “Hallowed by thy name” as “We lift up your name as holy” was judged as sounding a bit like a cliché from a contemporary praise and worship song.
What do you think?
- Do we have a Biblical example of a prayer that might have served as the model for the Lord’s Prayer?
- Which parts of the Lord’s Prayer are formula and which are innovation?
- How would you translate “Hallowed be thy name?”