When you pray, use no vain repetitions, as the Heathen ; for they think to be heard for their much babbling. Be ye not like them therefore ; for your Father knoweth whereof ye have need before ye ask of him. After this manner therefore pray ye.
Our Father which art in Heaven
O Lord God almighty, the knowledge of whom is life, whom to serve, is to reign, and unto whom to pray, is the joy and peace of the soul, we cannot know thee, but in thine own image Jesus Christ, and that by the operation of thy Spirit ; neither serve thee, except we follow thy word ; neither call upon thee, but in the name of the same Christ, and according to that form which himself hath prescribed us. Thus every faithful creature saith unto thee : Our Father, give unto us, forgive us. For thus hath thy Son the head of that union, which is amongst all Christians, commanded, that our prayers should be common for all people, as being all one body, which thou governest by one only Spirit ; and for as much as our being dependeth upon thee only, and being in our birth corrupted by sin, thou makest us to be renewed unto righteousness through the same eternal word, whereby thou has created us, we do rightly call thee, even by a double right, Our Father, a happy and loving beginning of prayer, wherein the new man reconciled unto thee, in Jesus Christ, thus speaketh to thee his Father : I do believe that I am of the number of thy children, through thy mercy, which it hath pleased thee to vouchsafe me, and therefore (O my God) I cannot see doubt hereof, but that thou dost lovingly hear me, and art inclined to help me and to relieve me in all my necessities, considering thou art in heaven, even according as being in all places, thou art as it were in no place. For thou art wholly an infinite spirit, and inaccessible light, whose name is (I am) namely of a sole, true essence, eternal, immutable and incomprehensible, and from whom all nature, whether celestial or terrestrial, doth through grace, borrow his essence and subsistance. Thus art thou above, in such wise, that being out of every place, thou art above all this great universal world in seat of thine own glory, from whence thou doest embrace both heaven and earth, and with thy providence, sustain them. As also, in some sort thou art above all things, because they do depend and bear themselves upon thee, who likewise dost by thy subtility pierce into them, more nearly into every creature than the same is to itself. Howbeit thou art in heaven, so far forth, as that the exquisite works of thy hands do the better appear therein. And thou doest in an especial manner inhabit the high heaven ; for there doth thy Majesty shine with open countenance ; besides, thou art with thy gracious presence in the souls of the righteous, which do harbour thee as a Father in their hearts.
Hallowed be thy name.
For O Lord, sith thou art my father, reason requireth, that above all things, I should desire thine honour, but everlastingly, for ever and ever, thy name is holy, and the glory thereof infinite. My prayer then bringeth nothing to thy greatness and excellencies ; but yet I may here desire, that thy name, both of itself, and by itself, most holy, may be sanctified, and exaltted in me, and in all men, and in all places ; whereby my self do also obtain that holiness, which is convenient for the true child of such a Father, unto whom all uncleanness is dipleasing.
Thy Kingdom come.
But who can impeach thy Kingdom, O eternal God, who hast created all things for thy service ? Thou reignest over all ; for the heaven is thy throne, and the earth thy footstool ; yet I beseech thee, be unto me as a Father in mercy, not as a Judge in thy justice, thou reignest in thy word, which thou hast revealed, and inspired, and I beseech thee, even for thy glory sake, that, this thy Book of life, may be opened to all people, that thereby all nations may worship thee ; thou reignest in thy Church, and I pray that the number of thy elect may be shortly fulfilled. Thy Kingdom is thy praise, and I beseech thee to make me as capable thereto as thou art liberal.
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
My will, O Lord, is altogether perverse and depraved except it be formed by thine, wherein resteth and consisteth all my good ; create in me this holy will, and give me grace to fulfill it in all my thoughts and works ; (for what can I have, but what thou givest me ?) to the end that in obedience of faith, I may do that which shall be acceptable in thy sight, even as the Angels in heaven do obey thy voice.
Give us this day our daily bread.
For Christ our Lord and Doctor, hath so contrived the petitions which we make unto thee, that in seeking first the glory of thy name, he will, that withall, we should have experience of the richness of thy goodness in all things necessary for this life. Thus wilt thou (O merciful Father) recompence with infinite benefits, even our simple cogitations of the brightness of thy glory, and crown thy gifts in us with grace. We do therefore daily crave our bread, and thou doest also give it us, that is to say, even all that is necessary for our maintenance here beneath ; yet dost thou present us with one bread far more excellent and profitable, even the bread of Angels, and of the blessed spirits ; give me thereof, O Lord Jesus Christ, God and man, that of him I may livre for ever, that my understanding may be enlightenend with his truth, and my heart kindled with the fire of his love, that I perish not.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
Our sins as debts do bind us to death (which is their reward and to hell which is their grave), they are as a strong bar, to keep us from coming to thee, O most holy God, yea which is more, they are as a cloud that shadows thine eyes, from looking upon us. And therefore the most convenient preparation for prayer, is with an humble, and truly penitent heart, to feel and confess our sins ; for so thou wilt vouchsafe to grant us remission of the same, in the name of thy Son our Saviour, in imputing unto us his righteousness. Yet herein (O Lord) is thy free mercy very great, that thou also givest us power to pardon those that do offend us, and by so doing, to obtain thy grace ; for what offence can any man commit against us, (poor worms of the earth) considering that we do so often, and so grievously offend (O King of glory) and in such sort, that if every creature should arm itself to hurt us, yet would not the least injury that we commit against thee be sufficiently revenged. Yet doest thou vouchsafe thus to testify thy infinite goodness, accepting as a sweet sacrifice, the oblation of our hearts reconciled, and fully united with our neighbours, like as contrariwise no part of hateful and perverse heart can delight thee.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For, as through thy mercy thou sufferest not Satan (the author of all temptations) to seduce thy children, neither sin to overcome them, so when thou wilt punish man in thy justice, they remain deprived of thy protection, and under the power of the Devil to be subject to his tyranny, and to live in a reprobate sense, hereof do we therefore reap this singular consolation, that this great adversary of our salvation can do nothing against us, unless thou give him leave ; and whereas sometimes thou causest us to be tempted ; thou dost it as a father, to chastise us for our transgressions, or to make us more triumphant and victorious in the trial which it pleaseth thee to make of our faith and hope, for thy glory and our own good, or for the edification of our neighbours.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.
Like as (O my God and Father) I began my prayer, by the hallowing of thy name, so is it meet and just that I should end it by the exaltation of the same ; as thy children, who bounding their vows, with the only care of thy honour, may assure themsleves to obtain the fulfilling of the same, on the sole perfection of thy glory, So be it.