Amen and Amen

Have you ever felt as if God was far off, and your life as a Christian seemed pointless? For some of us, there may be points in our lives where we believe that our present situations are too far gone for God to repair, to save, or even redeem. Here we see most clearly what is one of Satan’s greatest tactics; namely, he leads us to wallow in our hopelessness. When we consider the conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13, (which is often called ‘The doxology’), we are reminded that nothing is too great for our holy and loving triune God.

As you thumb through your Bibles to find the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, what you will likely find is that the doxology or traditional ending to the Lord’s Prayer is a footnote! The infamous ending, “for thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” is indeed typically a footnote in many modern versions. Though there is some disagreement on the originality of this ending, it was likely tacked on in the first centuries of the Church because it was typical in Jewish liturgies (or orders of worship performed in a group gathering such as a synagogue) to end prayers with a doxology.

Though likely not original to Matthew’s Gospel, we nevertheless should end our recitation of the Lord’s Prayer with this doxology because it is still teaching us right doctrine from another text. When we consider King David from the Old Testament we find that he utilizes a longer doxology in the midst of his prayer unto God 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 after offering precious gifts for the Temple. David’s own doxology includes all three major elements from the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer. Not only are these elements included but they are even elaborated by King David.

Therefore, we celebrate this later unoriginal doxology’s inclusion in the Lord’s Prayer because it functions similarly to a pastor’s sermon in that it reminds us of what God has said and done. As John Calvin, protestant reformer, rightly noted, “our prayers are founded on God alone, not our own merits.” The doxology does just that, reminding us of the reason why we can pray for anything at all! We are resting the fullness of our prayers on the shoulders of our all-powerful Almighty God who reigns forever as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In addition, the doxology reminds us that all events in the history of humanity are working together for the glory of God alone (cf. Romans 11:36). And this is why we declare the word “amen” typically at the end of our prayers. It isn’t merely a stylistic necessity. “Amen” literally means, “truly,” or “let it be”. So when we say “amen” at the end of the Lord’s prayer and our own prayers we are saying that we are expectantly trusting that God is able to accomplish that for which we pray, should it be His will. But our prayers must be firmly planted in the seedbed of faith. We must pray with expectant and believing hearts or else our prayers are fruitless (cf. James 1:6-8). We must hope in the God who is there.

Where are you ready to throw in the towel today? Where are you ready to give up? Our God is strong and powerful, He will sustain you O Christian, but you must believe and rest in the knowledge that the One to whom you pray is the One mighty to save; even from the most hopeless of situations. In the end, He will take all the loose seams of brokenness and pain from our lives, and reveal to us the tapestry He was designing for His glory and our good as believers.

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