Almost every church family prays the Matthew 6 version of the “Lord’s Prayer” aka “Our Father” with regularity, unity and only one notable difference. i.e., When we get to verse 12, some say, “Forgive us our sins,” while others pray, “Forgive us our trespasses” – a word that doesn’t appear in the prayer itself but in the next two verses.
I like that word choice, however, because, from childhood on, I’ve seen “No Trespassing” signs and understood what they meant. Conversely, the idea of a debt wasn’t clear until much later, and, even now, “sin” is an abstract word that’s hard to envision, difficult to clarify, and open to interpretation.
As prayers for the Book of Bible Prayers came together, they remained in the order they appear in most translations. Then, each of those prayers was paraphrased into every day language with one exception – the Matthew 6 version of Jesus’ prayer as recorded in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible:
Matthew 6:9-13 – a prayer of Jesus
“Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever. Amen.”
In King James' day, a "debt" may have been a particularly big deal as people sometimes wound up in debtors prison!
Besides the beautifully poetic and powerful lines in Matthew 6, a lesser known version of the Lord’s Prayer has been paraphrased below as it appears in the prayer book but can be easily found in your favorite translation of the Gospel of Luke:
Luke 11:2-4 – a prayer of Jesus
Father in heaven,
may Your Name
be kept holy among us.
Bring us into Your kingdom.
Give us bread for the day.
as we forgive those who
have wronged us.
Keep us from temptation.
from a time of hard trials.