And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done…
This first petition of the Lord's prayer, without saying anything about it, deals a most effective blow at the central evil of human nature — our selfishness. Men are apt to be nearly as selfish in their religion, nearly as egotistic in their prayers, as in any other part of their lives. But this petition turns their thoughts wholly away from themselves. "Our Father, who art in heaven," we say; and now that our thought is lifted up to the Infinite Giver, what shall we ask for first? For the easing of our pains, the supply of our wants, the pardon of our sins, the saving of our souls, the welfare of our friends? No; these are things to ask for, but not first. "Hallowed by Thy name"! Away from ourselves to God our thought is quickly turned. "Begin to pray," this petition says, "by ceasing to think of yourselves; by remembering that your small personality is not the centre round which this universe revolves." "Seek first the kingdom," &c., is the Master's great command, and here He frames it into the first petition of the prayer that is to be always on our lips. "After this manner, therefore. pray ye. Self must be the fulcrum on which your prayer will rest, but it is not the power that lifts you heavenward. It is by looking out and not in, up and not down, that a man escapes from the bondage of sin into the liberty of the sons of God.
(Washington Gladden, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.