Is there a problem that warrants a change in the Lord’s Prayer? Pope Francis seems to think so, and his logic may be right on point.
Pope Francis has an issue with a portion of the Lord’s Prayer and is calling for a change to correct the problem.
When I first heard this, I’ll admit being very skeptical. But when I read more about the issue the Pontiff raised, I began to think that he may well be on the right track.
As The Los Angeles Times puts it, Francis said “the current translation gives God a bad name and, essentially, does not give the devil his due.”
The Lord’s Prayer typically goes like this:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever
Specifically, the Pope’s problem is with what is called the Sixth Petition, the ninth line above: “And lead us not into temptation.”
Pope Francis said this is “not a good translation,” because it’s not the Lord who tempts us.
“It is not He that pushes me into temptation and then sees how I fall,” Francis said in Italian. “A father does not do this. A father quickly helps those who are provoked into Satan’s temptation.”
The call is not entirely unprecedented. Francis said the Catholic Church in France recently changed the line to say “do not let us fall into temptation,” which does at least cast God as someone who would prevent us from walking into a bad decision than intentionally pulling us into one, as the current version of the prayer goes.
Making that change to what we know as The Lord’s Prayer wouldn’t strike me as so eggregious, since it would more accurately describe the role God plays as many of us understand it.
Clergy seems to be split on the decision: some see the Pope’s point and agree that God wouldn’t lure us into temptation, but others say that since it’s in the Bible, it cannot be changed. (Even if they agree that it’s Satan, not God, who would intentionally lead us into temptation, their stubborn acceptance of the Bible’s supposed inerrancy allows them to ignore that a passage might misstate something even when it’s right in front of them.)
Still others have a concern that making a change in a prayer so many commit to memory at an early age might cause confusion and interrupt opportunities for corporate prayer.
For me, I think the Lord’s Prayer was more of an example of how to pray rather than a specific prayer we were supposed to recite by rote every time. I’ve always believed that as we build a relationship with God, we’re supposed to talk to Him the way we’d talk to a parent in our own words, not present the flowery language of a prayer that someone wrote for us.
What do you think of the idea of changing the Lord’s Prayer?