Today’s Catechism sections begin the discussion on the Lord’s Prayer. Supporting material comes from Tertullian’s “On Prayer”.

SECTION TWO

THE LORD'S PRAYER

I. "OUR FATHER!"

2759 Jesus "was praying at a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'"1 In response to this request the Lord entrusts to his disciples and to his Church the fundamental Christian prayer. St. Luke presents a brief text of five petitions,2 while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions.3 The liturgical tradition of the Church has retained St. Matthew's text:

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.

2760 Very early on, liturgical usage concluded the Lord's Prayer with a doxology. In the Didache, we find, "For yours are the power and the glory for ever."4 The Apostolic Constitutions add to the beginning: "the kingdom," and this is the formula retained to our day in ecumenical prayer.5
The Byzantine tradition adds after "the glory" the words "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." the Roman Missal develops the last petition in the explicit perspective of "awaiting our blessed hope" and of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.6 Then comes the assembly's acclamation or the repetition of the doxology from the Apostolic Constitutions.

Article 1

"THE SUMMARY OF THE WHOLE GOSPEL"

2761 The Lord's Prayer "is truly the summary of the whole gospel."7 "Since the Lord . . . after handing over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, 'Ask and you will receive,' and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer [the Lord's Prayer] is said first, as the foundation of further desires."8

I. At the Center of the Scriptures

2762 After showing how the psalms are the principal food of Christian prayer and flow together in the petitions of the Our Father, St. Augustine concludes:

Run through all the words of the holy prayers [in Scripture], and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord's Prayer.9

2763 All the Scriptures - the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms - are fulfilled in Christ.10 The Gospel is this "Good News." Its first proclamation is summarized by St. Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount;11 The prayer to our Father is at the center of this proclamation. It is in this context that each petition bequeathed to us by the Lord is illuminated:

The Lord's Prayer is the most perfect of prayers.... In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.12

2764 The Sermon on the Mount is teaching for life, the Our Father is a prayer; but in both the one and the other the Spirit of the Lord gives new form to our desires, those inner movements that animate our lives. Jesus teaches us this new life by his words; he teaches us to ask for it by our prayer. The rightness of our life in him will depend on the rightness of our prayer.

IN BRIEF

2773 In response to his disciples' request "Lord, teach us to pray" (⇒ Lk 11:1), Jesus entrusts them with the fundamental Christian prayer, the Our Father.

2774 "The Lord's Prayer is truly the summary of the whole gospel,"24 The "most perfect of prayers."25 It is at the center of the Scriptures.

In “On Prayer”, Tertullian discusses the Lord’s Prayer as a summary of the whole Gospel and the perfect example of prayer.

Chapter 1. General Introduction.

The Spirit of God, and the Word of God, and the Reason of God— Word of Reason, and Reason and Spirit of Word— Jesus Christ our Lord, namely, who is both the one and the other, — has determined for us, the disciples of the New Testament, a new form of prayer; for in this particular also it was needful that new wine should be laid up in new skins, and a new breadth be sewn to a new garment. Besides, whatever had been in bygone days, has either been quite changed, as circumcision; or else supplemented, as the rest of the Law; or else fulfilled, as Prophecy; or else perfected, as faith itself. For the new grace of God has renewed all things from carnal unto spiritual, by superinducing the Gospel, the obliterator of the whole ancient bygone system; in which our Lord Jesus Christ has been approved as the Spirit of God, and the Word of God, and the Reason of God: the Spirit, by which He was mighty; the Word, by which He taught; the Reason, by which He came. So the prayer composed by Christ has been composed of three parts. In speech, by which prayer is enunciated, in spirit, by which alone it prevails, even John had taught his disciples to pray, but all John's doings were laid as groundwork for Christ, until, when He had increased— just as the same John used to fore-announce that it was needful that He should increase and himself decrease John 3:30 — the whole work of the forerunner passed over, together with his spirit itself, unto the Lord. Therefore, after what form of words John taught to pray is not extant, because earthly things have given place to heavenly. He who is from the earth, says John, speaks earthly things; and He who is here from the heavens speaks those things which He has seen. John 3:31-32 And what is the Lord Christ's— as this method of praying is— that is not heavenly? And so, blessed brethren, let us consider His heavenly wisdom: first, touching the precept of praying secretly, whereby He exacted man's faith, that he should be confident that the sight and hearing of Almighty God are present beneath roofs, and extend even into the secret place; and required modesty in faith, that it should offer its religious homage to Him alone, whom it believed to see and to hear everywhere. Further, since wisdom succeeded in the following precept, let it in like manner appertain unto faith, and the modesty of faith, that we think not that the Lord must be approached with a train of words, who, we are certain, takes unsolicited foresight for His own. And yet that very brevity— and let this make for the third grade of wisdom— is supported on the substance of a great and blessed interpretation, and is as diffuse in meaning as it is compressed in words. For it has embraced not only the special duties of prayer, be it veneration of God or petition for man, but almost every discourse of the Lord, every record of His Discipline; so that, in fact, in the Prayer is comprised an epitome of the whole Gospel.

Footnotes

1 ⇒ Lk 11:1.
2 Cf. ⇒ Lk 11:2-4.
3 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:9-13.
4 Didache 8, 2: SCh 248, 174.
5 Apostolic Constitutions, 7, 24, 1: PG 1,1016.
6 ⇒ Titus 2:13; cf. Roman Missal 22, Embolism after the Lord's Prayer.
7 Tertullian, De orat. 1: PL 1, 1155.
8 Tertullian, De orat. 10: PL 1, 1165; cf. ⇒ Lk 11:9.
9 St. Augustine, Ep. 130, 12, 22: PL 33, 503.
10 Cf. ⇒ Lk 24:44.
11 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5- 7.
12 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 83, 9.