With Martin Luther’s explanation from The Small Catechism


Our Father in heaven.

What does this mean?

Here God would have us believe that He
Is truly our Father and that we
Are truly his children who confidently pray
To God our loving parent any time of day.

The First Petition

Hallowed be your name.

What does this mean?

God’s name is holy, but still we pray
That in all we do we may keep it that way.

When does this happen?

God’s name is hallowed whenever his word
In its truth and purity is heard,
And we as God’s children live it faithfully.
Help us to do this, our Father heavenly!
But if anyone should happen to have lived or taught
Contrary to God’s word, as not they ought,
Then God’s name is dishonored unworthily.
Keep us from this, our Father heavenly!

The Second Petition

Your kingdom come.

What does this mean?

God’s kingdom comes, this is true,
Even if we don’t pray or if we do.
But we ask for God’s kingdom in this prayer,
So when it comes, we’ll have a share.

When does this happen?

God’s kingdom comes when God gives us the Spirit,
So we believe God’s Word whenever we hear it.
All this happens by God’s great grace
Which helps us run this life’s good race.

The Third Petition

Your will be done on earth as in heaven.

What does this mean?

God’s will is done, this is true,
Even if we don’t pray or if we do.
But we ask that it be done in this prayer,
So when it’s done among us, we’ll have a share.

When does this happen?

God’s will is done whenever He
Defeats and hinders any evil treachery
Which the devil, world, self would have us do
To scorn God’s name and stop His kingdom too.
God’s will is done when our faith is strengthened,
And we’re kept in God’s Word as our life is lengthened.
God’s will is good and always gracious,
Both here on earth and in heavenly places.

The Fourth Petition

Give us today our daily bread.

What does this mean?

God gives bread to sinners, this is true,
Even if we don’t pray or if we do.
But we ask for daily bread when we say this prayer,
We thank God for it and remember to share.

What is meant by "daily bread"?

Daily bread includes all that’s needed for this life,
Such as food and clothing, faithful husband or wife,
Good weather, job, home, peace, friends who are true,
Loving fam’ly, health, respect, good government too.

The Fifth Petition

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

What does this mean?

We ask in this prayer for forgiveness when we plead,
Lest God hold our sins against us and fail to give us heed.
And we pray that God would give us by grace
Everything we need for the daily race,
Even though we sin every single day
And deserve only trouble to come our way.
So to those who sin against us, we on our part
Will gladly do good and forgive from our heart.

The Sixth Petition

Save us from the time of trial.

What does this mean?

God never tempts anyone to sin,
But the devil, world, self would have us give in
To pride, false belief, and sins like despair,
So we ask God to keep us from such in this prayer.
And though we have trials and are tempted to sin,
We pray that by God’s grace, final victory we’d win.

The Seventh Petition

And deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

When we pray this petition we’re asking a lot:
That God would save us from every evil plot
To body or soul, so that at our last hour
We be taken from here to God’s heavenly power.

The Doxology

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

What does "Amen" mean?

Amen means, "yes, it shall be so."
We say Amen because we know
That such petitions are no bother.
In fact, they’re pleasing to our heavenly Father.
For God himself has commanded us to pray
And say the Lord’s Prayer in this very way.
So have no fear,
God will hear,
And what God’s promised
Will surely come upon us.

Luther’s explanation adapted by Mark Vitalis Hoffman, 1996. Expressed permission is hereby granted to freely download and print these materials for personal use only. If you wish to use any of these materials for a group or other purposes, please contact me ( for permissions. In all cases, include my copyright notice and email address with any versions of the material.