Prayer: And Forgive Us Our Sins

To many Protestants, the phrasing of the Lord's Prayer in the King James Version is almost as sacred as if God himself had composed its stately English prose. Last week, at its sixth General Synod in Cincinnati, the reform-minded United Church of Christ defied tradition and became the first U.S. church in this century to adopt a modernized rendering of Christianity's most famous invocation.

Intended for worshipers to whom "traditional language has become something of a barrier," the up-to-date, idiomatic version of the Lord's Prayer was approved for experimental use by United Church congregations. Although the translation was based on...

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