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Teenagers’ unfamiliarity with the Lord’s Prayer

23 September 2009


From Ms Lesley Roff

Sir, — In relation to Mr Rob Medway’s letter (18 September), I was disturbed to hear of the mother, and school governor, who was shocked that, at the age of 15, her son had never heard of the Lord’s Prayer.

Notwithstanding the question what children should learn in school, how sad that, owing to a lack of communication, apparently, it had taken her so many years to discover this fact! Did it not occur to her that, perhaps, the first responsibility for teaching such prayers should lie within the family?

42 Crispin Road, Bradville
Milton Keynes MK13 7BW

From Mr Roger Godin

Sir, — I am surprised that Mr Medway should be surprised that children could not say the Lord’s Prayer. Those who have started accessible family worship for “fringe” people will often find that young adults, too, have as much uncertainty about the Lord’s Prayer as they have about the last lines of “Auld Lang Syne”.

I am afraid that, even where schools do teach and use the Lord’s Prayer, it is very often the (modified) traditional version. Thus children get the idea that prayer is as irrelevant to modern life as is Shakespeare — even if he is taught these days.

Couple this to the nonsense that we have Common Worship in modern English, but many churches persist in using the modified traditional Lord’s Prayer even then, and it is not surprising that those unfamiliar with church life have no idea of the words to use.

As the Archbishop of Wales pointed out in his article in the same edition: “The law that requires a daily act of worship in schools is not a mandate to compel pupils to recite the Lord’s Prayer and be so inspired that they turn up at church next Sunday. It is an invitation to experience what faith and commitment might mean.”

Let’s ensure that assemblies or collective worship are exciting, and at least use prayers with words that lead children to realise our faith is relevant to the current century.

The Stables
Hatch Beauchamp TA3 6TP

From Canon George Moffat

Sir, — The modernisers badly miscalculated the extent of their influence over the English people. The “new text” proved fine for the “in-house” group, but was ignored by those outside the fold. The Church catered here for its own, and left the nation without a text to recite and remember.

This concided with the surge in individualism, the weakening of corporate identity, and the exaltation of relativism. The triumph of the religiously inarticulate is now almost upon us.

The Church Office
The Priory Church
Bolton Abbey, Yorks BD23 6AL

From Mr Derek Bevan

Sir, — In Mr Medway’s shoes, I think I would have wanted the Lord’s Prayer in the printed material, if only to ensure that all used the same translation.

Stanford, 4 Petre Close
Ingatestone, Essex CM4 9SX

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