An early statement of the ideal prayer was by Jesus, King James Version (KJV)
After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Seven centuries later this was restated by Muhammad and translated to English as,
In the name of Allah, the merciful the compassionate.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds,
The compassionate the merciful,
The master of every judgment.
You alone we seek to please, and you alone we ask for help,
Direct us along the proper paths,
Along those paths that you do favor, Away from those that you dislike, away from those that will lead us astray.
There are parallels in the ideas being presented. They both begin with praise and subservience to the Master, and a stated eagerness to obey. They both ask to be shown the proper way to go, and to be shunted away from evil. There is a difference in that Jesus gives us a specific direction for how to move along a proper path, by forgiving us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. That statement is a variation of another of his statements, “All things what so ever that others should do unto you, do you even so unto them, for this is the law and the prophets.” And what is that you should do for them, “Help them to live and live more abundantly.”
So in this series of posts on prayer, I will begin with these two prayers as my guides, and it is interesting that they both are speaking of a path which we may follow. There is the implication that the world is filled with many problems and many paths, and that after stating this opening prayer we may have need for further prayer to help us along a proper path. We acknowledge this problem and ask in this opening to be given further help, as we seek our unique path through our life.