In On the Lord’s Prayer, three early church fathers—Tertullian, St. Cyprian, and Origen—explore the Lord’s Prayer and its role in the Christian life. In the excerpt below, Tertullian discusses the mystery of God’s holy name and calls Christians to pray that God’s name is revered in all people. The excerpt’s original wording has been preserved.
The name of God the Father had been revealed to nobody. Even Moses, who had asked it of God himself, heard of a different name (Exod 3:14–15). But to us it is revealed in the Son, for now we know that Son is the new name of the Father. “I have come,” he said, “in the name of the Father” (John 5:43). And again: “Father, glorify your name” (John 12:28). And, more openly: “I have made your name known to people” (John 17:6).
It is that name whose hallowing we beseech, not because it is fitting for people to give God our good wishes, as though there were another from whom it might be possible that such wishes be received, or as though he might be in trouble did we not wish him well; obviously it is fitting that God should be blessed in every place and time with a view to the fitting remembrance of his gifts from every person.
But this clause nonetheless serves the purpose of speaking well. Besides, when is the name of God not of itself both holy and hallowed, since of himself he hallows others, to whom the attendant angels do not cease to say: “Holy, holy, holy.”
Therefore we likewise who, should we prove worthy, are to put on angelic vesture, are here already learning that heavenly song to God and that task of future glory. This much concerns the glory of God.
Besides this, as regarding our own request, when we say: “Let your name be hallowed,” we ask that it be hallowed among us who are in him and, at the same time, in others whom the grace of God still awaits, so that we should be obedient to the command to pray for all, even for our enemies (Matt 5:44). Consequently, as a result of this terse expression, we do not say “Let it be hallowed in us,” but manage to say: “in all people.”
Learn to pray in the tradition of the early church fathers with On the Lord’s Prayer, now on sale for 30% off during August.
In On the Lord’s Prayer, you’ll find respected, accessible translations of treatises from St. Cyprian, Tertullian, and Origen to help you deepen your prayers.
As you read On the Lord’s Prayer, you’ll learn how the Lord’s Prayer impacts the Church in different ways. For example, St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, taught catechumens about how to pray based on the Lord’s Prayer. Tertullian, called the “father of Latin Christianity,” considered how the Lord’s Prayer forms the Church’s liturgy and worship practices. And Origen’s work covers the subject of prayer broadly, blessing advanced students of the faith as well as those preparing for baptism.
Whether you’ve grown up in the faith or you’re a recent convert, On the Lord’s Prayer will encourage you in your understanding the richness and practice of prayer.
When you add On the Lord’s Prayer to your Verbum library, every Scripture reference in the book links directly to your preferred Bible translation. As you encounter important terms in the book, you can easily search in Logos to learn exactly what each term means and how other church leaders interpret it.
This post has been adapted from Tertullian, Cyprian, and Origen. On the Lord’s Prayer. (A. Stewart-Sykes, Trans.) Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, (2004).