Q. I was at a non-denominational service at which the Lord’s Prayer was recited. I was not certain what to do. Should I have joined in?
A. As many scholars have pointed out, the prayer derives from Jewish sources, especially the Kaddish and the Amidah. It does not take deep knowledge to recognise the origin of phrases like “Our Father in heaven”, “hallowed be Your name”, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven” and so on to the final phrase, “Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory” – a quotation from I Chronicles 21:11.
In instructing his disciples to say this prayer in private and in the vernacular, Jesus may have been stressing inward piety in contrast to statutory public worship. But though he used phraseology based on Jewish sources, he exercised considerable skill, as Joseph Klausner pointed out, in condensing and weaving together his material.
Nonetheless, it is not appropriate for Jews to join in the recital of the prayer, not because of any objection to the language but because of its Christian associations.