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Why Different Christians Recite the Lord’s Prayer Differently

Thomas Cranmer, 16th century Archbishop of Canterbury, who guided King Henry VIII’s efforts to standardize an English version of the Lord’s Prayer.

Have you ever been a little confused when it comes to saying the Lord’s Prayer in a church service?

I remember when I first visited an evangelical church, that did not have a fixed, liturgical tradition. When it came to reciting the Lord’s Prayer, one group was still saying, “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us….,” while the other group had finished their, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…,” several seconds earlier. The “debtors” waited patiently until “trespassers,” like me, had finished, before continuing together.

So, why the cacophony of voices among Christians?

Protestant Christians have been known for having multiple methods of saying the so-called, “Lord’s Prayer,” what many Catholics call the “Our Father,” based on the first two words of the prayer. My Catholic friends often tease me for the endless varieties of worship among English-speaking Protestants.

But it really was not meant to be that way. Much of the story goes back to the period of the Reformation, in 16th and 17th century England. Continue reading

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