Several months ago there was a kerfuffle over an advertisement in which the Lord’s Prayer is prayed by various people across the UK. It was banned because it could offend or upset people of other faiths or none.
The response was fairly predictable: secularists cheering because they think the Lord’s Prayer is offensive, and Christians lamenting because they don’t. Personally, I think the advertisement was great.
But as to whether it was offensive, I have to come out and say it: the secularists were right.
The Lord’s Prayer is not mild, inoffensive, vanilla, listless, nominal, wishy-washy, or wallpapery. If you don’t worship the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is deeply subversive, upsetting, and offensive—from the first phrase to the last.
‘Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed Be Your Name’
Not Allah’s, or anyone else’s: the Father’s. There is only one who is holy, and he is our heavenly Father. May your name be recognized as great by all the nations, including those (like ours) who dismiss, blaspheme, patronize, or ignore it.
‘May Your Kingdom Come’
One day, all the kingdoms of the earth will become the kingdom of God and his Messiah. In the meantime, as we wait for you to gather up all your enemies and turn them into your footstool, we cry to you: Let your reign be shown here as well. Dethrone the powers. Overturn empires. Destroy everything that opposes you. Rule everywhere.
‘Let Your Will Be Done, on Earth as It Is in Heaven’
May the content shown on our screens, and the civilization they represent, be subjected to your will, so only things that honor you are done—just like currently happens in heaven.
‘Give Us Today Our Daily Bread’
We depend on you—not the markets, the government, our security services, or our own ingenuity and talent—for every good gift. Please keep providing them all, because if you don’t, we’re in big trouble.
‘Forgive Us Our Sins’
We have all sinned against you, offended you, transgressed your law, and trespassed against our fellow humans. We desperately need forgiveness. None of us is righteous. Please, in your mercy, wipe out our sins.
‘As We Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us’
Including abusers, manipulators, jihadists, and the rest, since we deserve judgment just as they do.
‘Lead Us Not into Temptation, But Deliver Us from Evil’
There is evil in the world, and it’s both out there (deliver us from evil) and in here (lead us not into temptation). Save us, O Lord! We can’t do it without you. Rescue us from everything that opposes you, and help us not to contribute to the problem in our own twisted fallenness.
‘For Yours Is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory’
Nobody else’s. No other God but you. No king but God. No Lord except Christ. Your glory shall not belong to another. Amen.
Anyone who thinks that isn’t offensive simply hasn’t been paying attention.
Editors’ note: An earlier version of this article appeared at Think Theology.