It is comparatively easy to repeat the words of the Lord’s Prayer like a parrot (or indeed a heathen ‘babbler’). To pray them with sincerity, however, has revolutionary implications, for it expresses the priorities of a Christian. We are constantly under pressure to conform to the self-centredness of secular culture. When that happens we become concerned about our own little name (liking to see it embossed on our notepaper or hitting the headlines in the press, and defending it when it is attacked), about our own little empire (bossing, ‘influencing’ and manipulating people to boost our ego), and about our own silly little will (always wanting our own way and getting upset when it is frustrated). But in the Christian counter-culture our top priority concern is not our name, kingdom and will, but God’s. Whether we can pray theses petitions with integrity is a searching test of the reality and depth of our Christian profession.
John R. W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, p. 148