Pater Noster Church: Lord's Prayer

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Pater Noster Church: Lord's Prayer

Location

 

1. The Church of Pater Noster is located on the top of the Mount of Olives just below the Chapel of the Ascension.

 

2. It is part of a Carmelite monastery, also known as the Sanctuary of the Eleona (Greek for olive grove).

 

Historical Background

 

1. Pater Noster means “Our Father” in Latin.

 

2. The church is overseen by the Carmelite Cloistered Sisters.

 

3. It is located on the site of the ruins of the "Eleona" Basilica, built in the 4th Century by Constantine. 

 

4. The Byzantine church was built over a cave, where according to tradition, was the place Jesus taught his disciples how to pray.

 

5. The church was destroyed by the Persians in 614 AD, but the memory of Jesus’ teaching continued to be associated with it. Some of the Byzantine church remains can be seen in the backyard outside of the present courtyard.

 

6. When the Crusaders arrived, the site was associated specifically with the Lord's Prayer, so the Crusaders rebuilt part of the church in 1099.

 

7. In 1872, a Carmelite convent was built that preserved and restored the foundations of the 4th Century Byzantine church.

 

8. In 1874 the present church was built on the north side of the ruined church. A large monastery was also built next to the church and grotto. 

 

9. A new church was partially built in 1915 but is still unfinished. The half-restored church has the same dimensions as the original, and the garden outside the three doors outlines the open aired area. Work on the church was abandoned in 1927 when funds ran out, leaving the base and walls uncovered.

 

10. It is very likely that Jesus prayed in this vicinity because He had just visited Mary and Martha’s house in Bethany, a short distance away.

 

11. Jesus also regularly prayed on mountain tops, so the top of the Mount of Olives would be a natural fit.

 

Places of Interest

 

1. The church has 140 large ceramic plaques containing the Lord’s Prayer in many languages.

 

2. The cave where it is believed Jesus taught on prayer is in an enclosed courtyard in front of the church and down a few stairs. The cave was partially collapsed when discovered in 1910.

 

3. To the left of the church's south door is an area paved with mosaics and identified as a baptistery.

 

4. The backyard of the church is where the original Byzantine church was located.

 

5. Bethany, the town of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

 

6. Top of the Mount of Olives

 

7. Chapel of the Ascension

 

8. Old City Jerusalem

 

The Lord’s Prayer in the Bible

 

In the New Testament, the Lord’s Prayer is mentioned two times. The first and longer form is found in Matthew 6 and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. The shorter form is in Luke 11 and is a response given by Jesus to a request by one of his disciples to teach them to pray as John taught his disciples.

 

1. Jesus was asked to teach His disciples how to pray.
Luke 11:1–4: It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

 

2. Christ gave examples of how we should pray.
Luke 11:5–13: Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

 

3. Jesus also taught about how to pray in the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 6:5–15: And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

Faith Lesson from the Lord’s Prayer

 

1. Jesus prayed regularly and was in constant communion with the Father. Do we do the same?

 

2. We should not pray repetitious phrases but should pray in a sincere and heartfelt manner.

 

3. The Lord’s Prayer is not an exact phrase we must pray but gives us principles of how to pray.

 

4. Jesus taught that we should be persistent in prayer.

 

5. Jesus taught that He is a good loving Father who delights in answering prayer when it is best for us and His sovereign will. 

 

6. Jesus taught that if we expect God to forgive us, we should forgive others as well. Do we have people in our lives we need to forgive?
 

 

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