Trial beats temptation in prayer

Published April 1, 1998


Conservative lay members of the Church of England have failed in their bid to keep a traditional form of the Lord’s Prayer as the church’s leading version.

An alternative version approved by the church’s general synod on 11 February to stand alongside the traditional prayer replaces the sentence “And lead us not into temptation” with “Save us from the time of trial”.

Among other changes, “trespasses” becomes “sins”, while “thy” and “thine” become “your” and “yours”. The modern version, known as the English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) text, has been agreed internationally since 1975 and is already used in Britain by churches as diverse as the Roman Catholic Church and the United Reformed Church, according to the Church of England’s liturgical commission.

Some members of the house of laity in the tricameral synod of bishops, clergy and laity had met ahead of the synod debate on the subject, but failed to halt the change, which was recommended by the liturgical commission and backed by the house of bishops.

Most criticism has focused on the sentence “Save us from the time of trial”, which replaces “And lead us not into temptation”, seen by objectors as ungainly language.

Anthony Kilmister, chairman of the traditionalist Prayer Book Society, told ENI: “Three approved versions of the Lord’s Prayer is a form of Russian roulette. As a churchgoer you won’t know what you’re getting.”


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