"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."
This is the Catholic English version of the "Lord's Prayer." Its direct antecedent can be found in the New Testament and according to their tradition, was basically said by Jesus as a prayer to God.
Would a Jew be permitted to say this as a prayer?
The answers were fascinating.
One commented that the prayer is familiar:
I don't know Greek so I don't know what the original says or what "Thy kingdom come" means but it looks to my untrained eye like some of the things we do pray for every morning before p'suke d'zimra.
The same commenter did think the line “forgive us as we forgive others” was fishy, saying it was foreign to ask God to emulate us.
I responded that Yeshua may not have been suggesting God emulate humanity, but rather, God reward human forgiveness with divine forgiveness. I cited Gamaliel II:
Whoever has mercy on other people, Heaven will have mercy upon him; whoever does not have mercy on other people, Heaven will not have mercy upon him.
Another commenter, giving the accepted answer, found nothing wrong in Messiah’s Prayer itself, instead suggesting that Jews should not pray the prayer simply because it’s from another religion:
We find that there are in fact practices in prayer (kneeling, raising our hands) that are attested in Tanach but were later abandoned as Jewish practices, precisely because non-Jewish religions made these parts of their own rituals. How much more so, then, that we shouldn't adopt prayers that they originated!
Another commenter, also unable to find fault in the actual prayer, appealed to the sufficiency of the Torah:
Why does anyone need such a prayer, anyway? The Torah has everything that's needed. Saying this 'prayer' would seem to be conferring tacitly some legitimacy on the entire concept of a so-called 'new testament'.
Another commenter rejected it because it gave legitimacy to Christianity, a religion that actively converts Jews:
I am certainly not paskening here, but it is essentially a sectarian prayer, and gives credence to that religion. What is the motivation in saying it? Breaking down boundaries in this area is surely a slippery slope, when dealing with a religion that actively wishes to convert Jews. So it is, at the least, a very bad idea.
Another commenter also used the “Christianity is idolatry!” argument:
Even if you hold that Christians worship HaShem in some ludicrous way and aren't worshiping an idol, it still is not the JEWISH way of worshiping. As such, Jews may not participate, join, copy, or in any way emulate this practice.
It's at best Hukath HaGoyim [decree of gentiles], at worst 'Avodah Zarah [idolatry].
What I found particularly interesting here is, no one really found fault with Messiah’s prayer by itself.
One commenter at first protested,
The ‘arting in heaven’ for one thing seems a step away from anthropomorphism to me.
However, another commenter quickly replied that “Our Father who art in Heaven” is actually a Hebrew phrase, Avinu Shebashamayim, common in many of Judaism’s own prayers.
Another commenter, perhaps grasping at straws to find fault with Messiah’s prayer, could only find problems if the prayer was applied in all circumstances:
One could pick apart various parts of this prayer. For example, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us". This seems akin to Jesus saying "judge not, lest ye be judged." But there are places this applies and where it does not. The gemara in Bava Kamma 50a states “Kol HaOmer HKB”H Vatran Hu, Yevatru Chaiyav”, “Anyone who says Hashem is a pushover, Hashem will push over his life”.
Ultimately, the answers given by these knowledgeable religious Jews were enlightening: Jews don’t have a problem with Messiah’s Prayer so much as they have a problem with Christianity.
And try as some did, ultimately the arguments against Messiah’s Prayer were really arguments against Christianity.
This reminds me of how, even among militant atheists, the best arguments against Yeshua are not really against Yeshua himself, but against Christianity:
Note that the Salvation Army gets defended even by atheists. Why? Because they do what Yeshua taught.
This says something, something great, about Messiah’s life, I think. Even those who oppose him can find little of his life or ethics to oppose.