As the name implies, this prayer was authored by our Lord Jesus Christ. The doxology “For thine is the kingdom…” is found in certain manuscripts but is largely understood to be a liturgical addition to the original prayer. Exactly as with the Daily Office, the classical Prayer Book tradition appoints the Lord’s Prayer twice in the Communion service: once at the beginning (said by the priest alone), and again toward the end (said by all). Which iterations of the Lord’s Prayer includes or excludes the doxology has varied from one Prayer Book to another, resulting in its near-universal inclusion in the present volume, for sake of simplicity and familiarity.
The English Prayer Book of 1549, with the Scottish and American Prayer Books, placed the Lord’s Prayer immediately after the Oblations, soon before the reception of the Sacrament. The English Books thereafter, and of most other provinces, appoint the Lord’s Prayer immediately after the ministration and reception of the Sacrament.
The celebrant announces the Lord’s Prayer as one “we are bold to pray.” This is not an historical commentary, referring to the people praying in their own tongue against medieval Roman malpractice, but a spiritual commentary: although we are unworthy sinners, boldly we approach the throne of grace, by faith (cf. Hebrews 4:16).
The Lord’s Prayer, being composed, taught, and commended by Jesus himself, is an integral component of any liturgy; no official service of the Church omits it. Its specific placement at this point, however, does have significance. The Prayers of Consecration have been completed, the holy food is on the holy table, and God’s family is gathered. The first (and classically, only) thing the congregation says aloud in this holy moment is the prayer that their Lord taught them. And, in the context of Holy Communion, many lines of this prayer take on particular meanings and tones. God “in heaven” doesn’t feel quite so distant for a moment. That his will be done “on earth as it is in heaven” is actually about to take place in our hands, mouths, bodies, and souls, momentarily. “Our daily bread” is already before us in Word and Sacrament. The promise of forgiveness and call to forgive others has already been addressed in the liturgy. The lofty ideals and hopes of this Prayer are, in this glorious moment, nearer than they normally seem.