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"Not with swords loud clashing nor roll of stirring drums, with deeds of love and mercy the heavenly kingdom comes." --Ernest Shurteff
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:13 NKJV
Our Father which art in heaven,Hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:For [because] thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. --King James Version
And so in my heart may I carry the knowledge that thy greatness is above me and around me, and that thy grace through Jesus Christ my Master is sufficient for all my needs. Amen. --Walter Bowie
Amen means, "yes, it shall be so."We say Amen because we knowThat such petitions are no bother.In fact, they're pleasing to our heavenly Father. For God himself has commanded us to pray.So have no fear, God will hear,And what God's promisedWill surely come upon us. --Martin Luther
Christ Our King is a vibrant Roman Catholic Church in San Diego. The membership is multiracial, mostly from three heritages--Mexican, African and European. Midpoint in their Sunday morning worship services, the congregation stands and everyone reaches out to take the hand of the person next to them. Then the music begins for the Lord's Prayer, and for a few brief minutes people are literally conjoined as we blend our voices in a united prayer to our common Father.
We sing like members of one great family, saying "Yes" to God's rightful claim on our lives. We express belief in the Kingdom and pray that God's intentions will be real among us on earth as it is in heaven. We make petition for universal needs which know no color line: for the security of daily bread; for the peace of living as forgiven and forgiving people; and for protection from evil so that none of us will lose our way.
As we approach the final line of the Lord's Prayer and with hands still connected, we all raise our arms in triumph to sing, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever." The climax sounds like we have just won a great victory. The volume builds and the words soar through the rafters. After a hushed "Amen" I feel like I want to clap, give a few hoots and share some hugs. In public worship such as this, we discover the unity of God's spirit.
"For thine is the kingdom . . . ." brings us full circle, back to where reverence and honor are due. The doxology overflows with praise and thanksgiving for the nature and activity of God. It's a sacred moment when the child in us returns to the wonder and awe of our Father. It's the loving adoration of the soul. Or the loud resounding of a Hallelujah Chorus.
Now here's an interesting fact. Depending what translation of the Bible you use, this final phrase may be omitted, or added as a footnote. That's because the words are not found in the oldest manuscripts, and probably didn't come from the lips of Jesus. Wherever the words did originate, they are consistent with the message of faith throughout Scripture and bring the prayer to a rousing conclusion. It's the appropriate response of the disciple to their Master, of the believer to their Lord.
In the Lord's Prayer we revere both the God who is near and personally involved in our world, and the God who is far above anything we are able to conceive or imagine. Our approachable, benevolent Father is also the King of the universe. The God of the ages is God here and now. Eminent, yet intimate. Clothed in power, yet humbly walking beside us, pointing out the pathway of peace and light.
The God who reigns above wants to reign in the lives of each one of us. Unlike the kingdoms of this world, God's glory shines forth in love and mercy. And that's more powerful than any conquering sword. Many empires have come and gone, but the kingdom of heaven lives on for ever.
"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen. --Jude, verse 24
From stumbling to faultless!--that's the eternal miracle of grace and it is available to everyone who believes. Without fear we can face the future. Because the faith of the one who prays joins forces with the reconciling energy of God, to bring all God's willing children home to their loving heavenly Father. Amen--yes, it shall be so.
Use the following questions for small groups, journaling, further study or reflection.
Share some memories which you associate with the Lord's Prayer. Describe the people, places and experiences as you remember them.
To many of us it would sound unfinished if the Lord's Prayer ended with the words, "Deliver us from evil." If you were up to you to add a concluding line to the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray, how would you end it?
Do you typically praise God for the kingdom, the power and the glory? Why or why not? What do you praise God for most often? If you were going to give God the highest praise, what would you say about God?As you read the Gospels, note what Jesus praised God for, and what God praised Jesus for. If any examples of this come to mind now, share them.
Make a list of all the ways you can think of in which the kingdom of heaven is different from any kingdom on earth. Is God's kingdom a force operating from without or from within? Why is grace so amazing and powerful?
Does the kingdom of heaven have an army? If so, describe it.
The model prayer which Jesus taught his disciples begins with the focus on God before we address our own needs, cares and concerns. First, we get to know our heavenly Father, then we talk about ourselves. The final line is a response to the total prayer experience, as of the creature to its Maker. Is this a good pattern to follow when we pray? Explain your answer. How do you usually end your prayers?
Reflect on Martin Luther's definition of the word, "Amen." According to Luther, why should we pray? With what attitude and expectations should we pray?Next time you pray, at the end of the Amen, say "Yes, it shall be so." If/When you do that, what does that add to the prayer experience?
What are some other doxologies from Scripture, the Psalter or your hymnbook which you could use to end your prayers?