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…
Edwin Booth, the celebrated tragedian, was a man who threw into his impersonations an amount of heart and soul which his originals could scarcely have equalled. He did Richard III. to the life, and more. He had made human passions, emotions, and experiences his life's study. He could not only act, but feel rage, love, despair, hate, ambition, fury, hope, and revenge with a depth and force that amazed his auditors. He transmuted himself into the hero of his impersonation, and he could breathe a power into other men's words which perhaps never was surpassed. And what is rather remarkable, when he was inclined to give illustrations of this faculty to private circles of friends, he nearly always selected some passages from Job, David, or Isaiah, or other holy men of old. When an inquiring young professor of Harvard University went to him by night to ask a little advice or instruction in qualifying himself for an orator, the veteran tragedian opened the Bible and read a few verses from Isaiah in a way that made the Cambridge scholar tremble with awe, as if the prophet had risen from the dead and was uttering his sublime visions in his ears. He was then residing in Baltimore, and a pious, urbane old gentleman of the city, hearing of his wonderful power of elocution, one day invited him to dinner, although strongly deprecating the stage. A large company sat down to the table, and on returning to the drawing-room, they requested Booth, as a special favour to them all, to repeat the Lord's Prayer. He signified his willingness to gratify them, and all eyes were fixed upon him. He slowly and reverentially arose from his chair, trembling with the burden of two great conceptions. He had to realize the character, attributes, and presence of the Almighty Being he was to address. He was to transform himself into a poor, sinning, stumbling, benighted, needy suppliant, offering homage, asking bread, pardon, light and guidance. Says one of the company present: It was wonderful to watch the play of emotions that convulsed his countenance. He became deathly pale, and his eyes, turned tremblingly upwards, were wet with tears. As yet he had not spoken. The silence could be felt; it had become absolutely painful, until at last the spell was broken as if by an electric shock, as his rich-toned voice, from white lips, syllabled forth, "Our Father, which art in heaven," etc., with a pathos and fervid solemnity that thrilled all hearts. He finished; the silence continued; not a voice was heard, nor a muscle moved, in his rapt audience, until, from a remote corner of the room, a subdued sob was heard, and the old gentleman (the host) stepped forward, with streaming eyes and tottering frame, and seized Booth by the hand. "Sir," said he, in broken accents, "you have afforded me a pleasure for which my whole future life will feel grateful. I am an old man, and every day, from boyhood to the present time, I thought I had repeated the Lord's Prayer; but I never heard it before — never!" "You are right," replied Boeth; "to read that prayer as it should be read caused me the severest study and labour for thirty years, and I am far from being satisfied with my success."
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.