The Heidelberg Catechism: On The Lord’s Prayer

In one of the Presbyterian catechisms, The Heidelberg Catechism, explicates the Lord’s Prayer given to us in Matthew 6:9-13:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.[a]
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,[b]
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,[c]
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.[d]

We have added the concluding line:

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, amen.

Here are the concluding eleven questions of the Heidelberg Catechism:


What is the Lord’s prayer?

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 debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.


Why has Christ commanded us to address God as Our Father?

To awaken in us at the very beginning of our prayer that childlike reverence and trust toward God which should be basic to our prayer: God has become our Father through Christ and will much less deny us what we ask of Him in faith than our fathers would refuse us earthly things.


Why is there added, Who art in heaven?

These words teach us not to think of God’s heavenly majesty in an earthly manner, and to expect from His almighty power all things we need for body and soul.


What is the first petition?

Hallowed be Thy Name. That is: Grant us first of all that we may rightly know Thee, and sanctify, glorify, and praise Thee in all Thy works, in which shine forth Thy almighty power, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, mercy, and truth. Grant us also that we may so direct our whole life–our thoughts, words, and actions–that Thy Name is not blasphemed because of us but always honoured and praised.


What is the second petition?

Thy Kingdom come. That is: So rule us by Thy Word and Spirit that more and more we submit to Thee. Preserve and increase Thy Church. Destroy the works of the devil, every power that raises itself against Thee, and every conspiracy against Thy holy Word. Do all this until the fulness of Thy kingdom comes, wherein Thou shalt be all in all.


What is the third petition?

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. That is: Grant that we and all men may deny our own will, and without murmuring obey Thy will, for it alone is good. Grant us also that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.


What is the fourth petition?

Give us this day our daily bread. That is: Provide us with all our bodily needs so that we may acknowledge that Thou art the only fountain of all good, and that our care and labour, and also Thy gifts, cannot do us any good without Thy blessing. Grant therefore that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures, and place it only in Thee.


What is the fifth petition?

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. That is: for the sake of Christ’s blood, do not impute to us, wretched sinners any of our transgressions, nor the evil which still clings to us, as we also find evidence of Thy grace in us that we are fully determined wholeheartedly to forgive our neighbor.


What is the sixth petition?

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. That is: In ourselves we are so weak that we cannot stand even for a moment. Moreover, our sworn enemies–the devil, the world, and our own flesh–do not cease to attack us. Wilt Thou, therefore, uphold and strengthen us by the power of Thy Holy Spirit, so that in this spiritual war we may not go down to defeat, but always firmly resist our enemies, until we finally obtain the complete victory.


How do you conclude your prayer?

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. That is: All this we ask of Thee because, as our King, having power over all things, Thou art both willing and able to give us all that is good, and because not we but Thy holy Name should so receive all glory for ever.


What does the word Amen mean?

Amen means: It is true and certain. For God has much more certainly heard my prayer than I feel in my heart that I desire this of Him.


2 thoughts on “The Heidelberg Catechism: On The Lord’s Prayer

  1. Joey: If I were to become a Reformed Christian, the confessions and catechisms in the tradition would be a compelling reason, as this excerpt demonstrates. Let me bring your attention to a well-regarded commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism by Kevin DeYoung, a Reformed author that you should know about. He is the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan.

    THE GOOD NEWS WE ALMOST FORGOT: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism (Moody Publishers, 2010)

    If there is “nothing new under the sun,” perhaps the main task now facing the Western church is not to reinvent or be relevant, but to remember. The truth of the gospel is still contained within vintage faith statements. Within creeds and catechisms we can have our faith strengthened, our knowledge broadened, and our love for Jesus deepened.

    In “The Good News We Almost Forgot,” Kevin DeYoung explores the Heidelberg Catechism and writes 52 brief chapters on what it has shown him. The Heidelberg is largely a commentary on the Apostle’s Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer and deals with man’s guilt, God’s grace, and believers’ gratitude. The result is a clear-headed, warm-hearted exploration of the faith, simple enough for young believers and deep enough for mature believers.

    DeYoung writes, “The gospel summarized in the Heidelberg Catechism is glorious, it’s Christ gracious, it’s comfort rich, it’s Spirit strong, it’s God Sovereign, and it’s truth timeless.” Come and see how your soul can be warmed by the elegantly and logically laid out doctrine that matters most: We are great sinners and Christ is a greater Savior!

    ”I cannot over exaggerate how good this book is. Here is a crash course in life-changing biblical teaching, a wake-up call to the slumbering, a blood transfusion for the spiritually anemic, a solid meal for the mature—and much more: conversational, cutting where needed, gospel-filled, and clear. ‘The Good News We Almost Forgot’ has it all: honesty, truth, grace, plain-speaking, encouragement, wisdom, and hope. It may not make you wish you were Dutch—but it should certainly make you feel that being a Christian is the greatest thing in the world, today or any day!”
    – Sinclair B. Ferguson, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary



    • Wow! That sounds awesome! Thank you for letting me know about it. Since I grew up in the PCUSA church, the Catechisms, Confessions, and Creeds seemed less at the forefront of teaching and preaching. We did learn the Apostle’s Creed and it was recited in every church service. However, I had not learned any other’s. But since reading books you got me in response to me joining the Reformed Church, I have learned that these documents help us better under stand the mystery of the Gospel. They are not a replacement for reading Scripture, but they illuminate and clarify what we read in the Bible. Thank you for suggesting this. This will definitely be something that I will want to purchase at some point in the upcoming future.


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