The Lord’s Prayer as Chiasm

I think there’s a case to be made that the Lord’s Prayer has a chiastic structure:

Opening (“Our Father, Who art in Heaven”)

> > Glory – Kingdom – Power (“name”=glory, “kingdom”=kingdom, “will”=power) — in all places (“on Earth as it is in Heaven”)

> > > > Asking for two very important things (bread and forgiveness)

> > > > > > We will forgive others.

> > > > Asking for two more very important things (deliverance from temptation and from evil)

> > Kingdom – Power – Glory — at all times (“forever”)

Closing (“Amen”)

The middle of a chiasm is often its most important part. Is the commitment to forgive others the most important part of the Lord’s Prayer? I’m not sure about that, but Jesus certainly did emphasize it in His earthly ministry (and see N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus 70). What’s more, it is a unique part of the prayer, since it is only here that the speaker is not acknowledging or asking, but is himself making a commitment.

It’s interesting that in our prayers we Christians do not typically promise to do something. There are prayers of adoration, of confession, of thanks, and of supplication (spelling “ACTS,” by the way), but not promise. Perhaps there should be: Consider, after all, who gave us the Lord’s Prayer!