These shortened forms of hymnic versions of the Lord’s Prayer are symptomatic of our modern age, which is impatient with hymns longer than three or four stanzas and with services of worship that last longer than fifty-nine minutes. But worship and prayer require time if we are to become attuned to what we are doing and why. Luther and his generation have much to teach us about hymns that have more to do with faith, rather than simply evoking feeling, hymns that are sometimes expressions of prayer, instead of always being thought of as expressions of praise, hymns that make us take time in worship and prayer to consider who God is, what God has done for us, what God continues to do for us, and what our real needs — as opposed to our wants — are. The catechesis of prayer not only defines what prayer is but also expresses itself in prayer, which is what Luther’s catechism hymn on the Lord’s Prayer takes time.
Robin A. Leaver. Luther’s Liturgical Music: Principles and Implications. Lutheran Quarterly Books. Grand Rapids & Cambridge: Eerdmans, p. 133–4
The phrase “praying the Catechism” is at least as old as Luther’s writings on the subject. I don’t know if the following contribution to the subject is original, but I haven’t come across it before.
The Catechism (in the narrower sense: The Commandments, Creed and Lord’s Prayer) can be prayed very simply and very quickly by praying the Lord’s Prayer. Conversely, the Lord’s Prayer is merely a summary of the Catechism – and thus can form the basis of an extended prayer life.
The Lord’s Prayer is simply the rest of the Catechism in prayer form. Let me demonstrate:
1st petition: Our Father who art in heaven
1st commandment: I am the Lord your God
2nd pet: Hallowed be Thy name
2nd comm: Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God
3rd pet: Thy kingdom come
3rd comm: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy
4th pet: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
4th-10th comm: Love your neighbour as yourself
5th pet: Give us this day our daily bread
1st article: I believe in God … the maker of heaven & earth
6th pet: And forgive us our trespasses…
2nd art: And in Jesus Christ … was crucified, died … and rose again
7th pet: And lead us not into temptation but deliver…
3rd art: And in the Holy Spirit
This becomes even clearer when we read the Commandments and the Creed through the lense of the Small Catechism.