Literary BMGD #39: Phelps’ The Lord’s Prayer

September 25, 2012 | 4 comments
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In the middle of his visit to the Nephites, Christ leaves the people for the night and then returns the following day (as recounted in 3 Nephi 17-19). Before he leaves, and then again after he returns the next day, Christ teaches the Nephites about prayer, and provides them with examples of prayers—one of which they were unable to even record.

These prayers call to mind the model prayer that Jesus provided in the New Testament, the Lord’s Prayer, itself used as an oft-repeated prayer throughout Christendom and the inspiration for many pieces of poetry, including the following by W. W. Phelps:

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The Lord’s Prayer

by W. W. Phelps

Our Father in heaven
Be hallowed thy name,
Thy kingdom come quickly,
Thy will be our aim.
O give us bread daily;
Forgive us our sin
As we forgive debtors
Of all that have been.
Lead not to temptation—
Deliver from sin—
For thine is the kingdom
To fill earth again.
And thine is the power,
While time1 shall reign—
And thine is the glory
Forever;—Amen.

Times and Seasons, 1 September 1843;
Nauvoo Neighbor, 11 October 1843

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I wouldn’t say that this adds anything new to the Lord’s Prayer, but it is, I think, a nice presentation, one that perhaps adds something musical to what the King James’ Version’s translators gave us. And, if nothing else, it shows the creative urge of Mormon artists in Joseph Smith’s day. In particular, Phelps, who regularly took the texts of others and turned them in his own poetic vein — kind of like today’s mash ups.

 

Show 1 footnote

  1. The version in the Times and Seasons reads “Jesus” in place of “time”

4 Responses to Literary BMGD #39: Phelps’ The Lord’s Prayer

  1. Carole on September 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Love it. I’m reading it to the tune of #267, “How Wondrous and Great.”

  2. Kent Larsen on September 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Great idea, Carole. That’s something I haven’t worked on — what meters these poems fit with.

  3. Rachel Whipple on September 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Ooh, I love the idea of singing these poems. Due to complete lack of talent, I will never be a ward choir director, but if I were, I’d request permission to do something like this.

  4. Cameron N. on September 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Concise and potent, i like it.

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