I’m going to depart from my traditional series of Thursday posts on the New Testament to spend a little while on an early Christian document called The Didache. This little document, which I think comes from the period 51-57, but which some will date as late as 120, is a very early guide to churchly practices. We’ll walk through it a bit at a time before returning to actual New Testament texts.
The Didache. (translated by Kirsopp Lake) Loeb Classical Library #24. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1912, reprint 1985, pp. 303-334.
Chapter 8, pp. 320-321.
The text now turns to speak of fasting and prayer. This could well be an indication of the expected ongoing life of the baptized Christian. The author alleges that hypocrites fast on the second and fifth day after the Sabbath, so the Christian should fast on the third and sixth days, Wednesday and Friday (Didache VIII.1). The baptized Christian does not pray as the hypocrite but three times a day prays as follows (Didache VIII.2, personal translation).
“Our father in heaven, may your name be made holy, your kingdom come, your will be done, as in heaven also on earth: daily give us our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors and do not lead us into temptation, but rescue us from evil, because yours is the power and the glory forever.”