My interest in the Lord’s Prayer was sparked by two things. The confidence that my Doctor Father George Caird expressed in me before the whole of Oxford University’s Theology Faculty when I was being interviewed for the Hall-Houghton Studentship in the Greek New Testament that my work on the Synoptic stories of Jesus under “temptation” should be supported because it would lead to a resolution of the apparent contradiction between Matt. 6:13/Lk. 11:4 (which seems to say that God tempts or tests believers) and James 1:13 (which denies that he does), and a question later asked of me by Robert Jewett on what I thought Jesus was saying when he instructed his disciples to ask that God μ εςεvέγκσ μσ εσ πειραςμόv.
This led first to a writing an essay on that passage entitled “Testing Temptation: The Meaning of Q 11:4b” that I delivered at the 1998 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Orlando, Florida, and then, almost inevitably, to an investigation (eventually published in 2001 in Vol. 31 of the Biblical Theology Bulletin) of the validity of the claim of many contemporary commentators that most, if not all, of the other petitions of the Prayer were aimed at calling down into the time of Jesus and the disciples blessings that according to some reconstructions of Jewish beliefs about the future properly belonged to an anticipated “age to come”.
The more I engaged with this claim, the more I became convinced not only that it was grounded in a misunderstanding of why Jesus taught his disciples what now appears at Matt. 6:9-13//Lk. 11:2, but that there needed to be a full scale investigation of what it actually was that led Jesus to give his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. Thus was born my book The Disciples’ Prayer in which I attempted to make the best case possible in defense of my conclusions on this matter, namely, that Jesus knew and felt that his disciples were in great need of divine aid to help them to remain true to the pattern of faithfulness and sonship that he had called them to embody in their lives, especially since he saw them as being swayed again and again to think the things of men and not the things of God.