As a Greek student, my professor had us memorize this prayer. I do not recall if it was for a recitation grade or not, but I certainly enjoyed the translation of it at the time as well as praying it to God coherently. Once I was able. I was asked by a friend to share this, so that he could share it with a close friend. I have included the Greek text here with the English pronunciation, the English transliteration, and the English translation below that. It's just a bit rough as I have not studied Greek in almost 3 years. If you are an auditory learner, try listening to the recording along with the reading. The reading has a slight rhythm to it, so I know you'll have it in a couple days!
πατερ ημων ο εν τοις ουρανοις αγιασθητω το ονομα σου
Pater hemon ho en tois uranois hagiastheto to onoma sou
Father our who in the heavens are holy your name is
Father in heaven, holy is your name
ελθετω η βασιλεια σου γενηθητω το θελημα σου ως εν ουρανω και επι γης
eltheto he basileia sou genetheto to thelema sou hos en urano kai epi geis
may kingdom your come, let it be as in heaven even upon earth
may your kingdom come, may your will be done, as it is in heaven, on earth
τον αρτον ημων τον επιουσιον δος ημιν σημερον
ton arton hemon ton epiousion dos hemin semeron
in bread ours in daily give us this day
Our daily bread give us this day
και αφες ημιν τα οφειληματα ημων ως και ημεις αφηκαμεν τοις οφειλεταις ημων
kai aphes hemin opheileimata hemon hos kai hemeis aphekamen tois opheleitais hemon
and forgive us trespasses our the even our debtors the tresspasses their
and forgive us our trespasses even as we forgive those who have sinned against us
και μη εισενεγκης ημας εις πειρασμον αλλα ρυσαι ημας απο του πονηρου
kai me esenenkeis hemas eis perasmon alla rusai hemas apo tou ponerou
and not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
A family is driving 55 mph down a sunlit country road, swerving now and then. It is cold enough outside that the windows are fogging up from the warmth inside the vehicle. The kids are pestering each other, kicking and hitting one another in the back seat, saying all sorts of awful things. Mom finally turns around and curses at them to stop, that they are almost at the church building so it's time to quiet down. As the minivan pulls under the awning and comes to a stop, the bickering children grow silent and politely file out in single file through the glass double doors, through the foyer and into the auditorium. Here there is no fidgeting. There is no cursing. There is no kicking. They are perfect.
After the service, the children meet up with their friends, and their parents do the same. They speak kindly and respectfully to their Christian brothers and sisters, and everything is clean and neat and predictable and safe. After lunch plans have played out and the children return home, mom and dad begin shedding the layers. Dad strips off his belt and his tie, and mom hangs her overcoat in the closet and kicks off her shoes clumsily into the corner. Before long they are talking about money and begin to argue about the money wasted on Dad's hunting trips and Mom's hair appointments. They raise their voices to each other as if it was what their voices were made for.
And the children watch and listen...and follow suit. The youngsters begin to bicker and bother and whine. Fast forward to evening worship. Perfection. Home...chaos. Wednesday Bible study. Tranquility. Home...a battlefield. There are some obvious dysfunctions in the story. Should the parents fight and treat each other with hatred and pride? No. Should the children follow their lead and spiral downward into immaturity? No.
But the saddest effect is that the children begin to think that around the church, they must be perfect. At home, they can "be themselves." Their parents were convinced of this long ago. At home, the primary mode of communication is argument and complaint. In the worship setting, it is edification and flattery. When at home, problems are obvious and glaring. In the assembly, they are hidden, we are all perfect and sparkling. At home, we see behind the mask. In the church house, we are marble statues of purity.
I have often heard that the church is a hospital, not a museum, but I never understood that we were the patients and that Jesus was the Great Physician. I thought that I was there as a sterile surgeon, or at least a nurse, conducting an open heart surgery and dumping in the word of God. I got it all wrong.
It is easy to see the problem but the solution demands a great measure of grace, mercy and transparency with God and with others. And it is a solution that requires growth and time. We are in great need of a savior. No one was "raised in the church." No one was born into salvation. We all are at some point lost in need of a savior and separated from God. The churched heathen is no more saved or alive than an unchurched heathen, and vice versa.
The problems that Jesus came to heal in us are not a joke, but those problems are not our identity. For a short time, we wear a mask. We operate with the assumption that everyone can see and the prayer that no one can see. We protect our egos and our self-images with the pretense of perfection, though we are all hypocrites. The reason there are hypocrites in the church is that no one is perfect, but you know what? I would rather be sick in a hospital than contaminate everyone and everything around me. Christ heals and purifies and cauterizes our wounds. He purges with hyssop. It hurts big time, but remember, we are always on the Potter's wheel. We are always being chiseled and sharpened.
Some of us have seen the insides of prison cells, padded rooms and police cars. Some of us have pasts that would shock almost any congregation. But they shouldn't. The porn-addicted preacher is just as lost as the prostitute. The merciless mother is just as lost as the murderer. The wrathful railer is just as lost as the rapist. And the liar is just as lost as the looter . What reconciles? What unites? What cleanses?
GOD, the chief surgeon (Ps 51).
Some of our favorite Bible characters lived Behind the Mask every once in a while. We read of Adam, the taker; Noah, the drunkard; Abraham, the liar; Sarah, the mocker; Moses, the doubter; Rahab, the harlot; David, the adulterer, fornicator and murderer; Matthew, the thief; Peter, the racist ; and Paul, the persecutor. God honors the faith of the sinner-seeker who hungers and thirsts for what he needs most (Mt5:6). We are all sinners (Romans 3:23). It is important that parents allow their children to see them figuring things out: to see the struggle to victory that is achieved through faith in Christ. For when we seek God first (Mt 6:33), we become identified with him, and there is no need for the mask.
I have had the embarrassing experience in the past of hearing leaders in the church refer to "family problems," of which I had personally suffered. We should not treat sinners as lepers but as people who need healing. Spiritual healing will eventually subsume the physical and the psychological, but we should consider the amount of damage that sin can cause on the instinct, the intellect and the integrity of the new Christian to assist in healing alongside them. Perhaps the most significant wound that new believers could experience is that of Judgment, yes from the world, but also from their brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are all in remission. We have all worn masks. We have all hidden. We have all taken. We have all lied. We have blasphemed. Yet, we are all forgiven. We are resurrected (Rom 6:3-4).
1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)
When we put on Christ, we have no need for the mask. We are hidden with Christ, in God. He is our rock, our shelter, our fortress and our sheild (Ps 144:1-2). We need not be ashamed of our past because it is the glory of God's forgiveness revealed, for which we owe him all our love (Lk 7:36-50). May your love, life and mercy be abundant (Jn 10:10).
Every great story begins with safety, comfort and provision: with a premonition of rightness and tidiness. And then comes the plot. We are thrust into a maze of conflict, obstruction and uncertainty as the frame of our asylum is contorted beyond recognition and the picture of our world shattered forever (Genesis 3).
I grew up with the notion that Christianity was safe and secure and comfy and perfectionist. That perception caused me much guilt and others worlds of pain because I expected perfection. The man who seeks perfection is destined to misery. I sought salvation by my own merit and by my own works. While I was to be recreated in Christ for that purpose, I was proud enough to believe that they would be my salvation. It involved a scorecard, and it was spiritually tedious (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Christian life was to me an oscillation between salvation and damnation. Forgive the illustration: I had Satan on speed dial, but I had God on Facebook, and I Liked everything He posted and commented and made sure that everyone knew that He and I knew of each other. Yet my spirit was dead. Why? Because I knew of Him, but we did not have a relationship. Though he sought me diligently, I was cheapening His grace by trying to earn it all the time.
The opposite was not the solution either. We would make as great a mistake to take His grace for granted and “continue to sin that grace may abound” (Romans 6:1-2). Yet faith without works is dead faith (James 2:14-26). Ultimately each of us must answer the question, “Does what I do matter?”
What is “matter?” If something has the ability to matter, it means that one is judging himself and even others by some absolute, universal standard. Yep, he believes in absolute truth. I pinch a relativist, she does not like it. “Ow, that hurt! Why did you do that?” With I sigh, I respond “Well, it sure felt good. Do I need a reason?” Yet she still feels hurt because she has hard-wired into her the eternity of God and the perception of right and wrong because she is 100% spirit and 100% flesh (Genesis 2:7). So if some action, word or aroma of the heart can matter, it must matter.
It’s the same realization that every one of us must make in the story that we’ve been born into: we have an impact physically, spiritually and psychologically on everything and everyone in every chapter. There is a turning point; a cross roads; a point of no return that we all come to when we have realized things here really are not how we thought they were. And if they are different, we are different. And if we are different, our lives matter to someone. That someone is Jesus, who came that we may live a life truly alive (John 10:10).
It is the story of Rose and the Tardis, the Pevensies and Narnia, Frodo and the Fellowship. It is Alice and Wonderland, Luke and the Dark Side, Neo and the Matrix. It is fishermen, tax collectors, sadducees and pharisees for the Great Commission. It is you and me and eternity. We are strangers here. We all live in a frame within a frame, and the end is in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).