How to Learn the Lord's Prayer in Sign Language

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The Lord's Prayer, also known as the "Our Father," is Christianity's foremost prayer. Knowing how to translate the Lord's Prayer from English to American Sign Language is a useful skill for church ASL translators as well as anyone who would like to communicate the prayer to a member of the deaf community. Fortunately, there is a vast amount of online sign language resources available to help you teach yourself how to sign the Lord's Prayer.

1 Watch a video

Watch a video of someone signing the Lord's Prayer while reading along with the words or reciting the words in your head. The Magothy United Methodist Church of the Deaf has a video of someone signing the Lord's Prayer on its website. Additionally, there are several similar videos uploaded onto video hosting websites, such as YouTube.

2 Learn the meaning behind each sign

Learn the meaning behind each sign by consulting an American Sign Language translation website such as The site has a database of video translations of religious terms. Look up the words in the Lord's Prayer and view each word's corresponding sign.

3 For example

For example, you can look up the sign for the word "heaven" and see where it fits into the full prayer translation video. This sign involves placing both hands at a right angle, moving the left hand below the right hand as you bring the right hand upward, then raising both hands to the forehead level and sliding the hands outward to the left and right of the head.

4 Involves holding the right hand

The word "father" involves holding the right hand up to the forehead so that the fingers are spread and the thumb bounces slightly on the forehead.

5 Forgive

The word "forgive" begins by placing a palm-down right hand with the fingers slightly cupped on top of a palm-up left hand. Next, slide the right hand under the left hand so that it now resides palm-up. While performing this motion, allow the left hand to turn over so it is palm-down and slide it across the now upward-facing right hand.

6 Practice and memorize each sign

Practice and memorize each sign. Start from the beginning of the prayer and slowly move on as you learn each new sign. Do this until you can perform the entire prayer from memory.

7 Sign the prayer

Sign the prayer to an ASL expert and ask him for any suggestions on how you can improve the translation. He may suggest that certain facial expressions or movements be altered to better express the prayer in sign language.

Margaret Kay has worked as a freelance writer since 2009. She has worked as a contributor to "The Gonzaga Bulletin." Kay has recently completed her Master of Theology in media ethics at the University of Edinburgh.