By Becky Harling, Crosswalk.com
Many have grown up reciting the Lord’s Prayer in churches of all denominations. When we recite the Lord’s Prayer we conclude by saying, “For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.” (Based on Matthew 6:13). Though these final lines are not included in the oldest manuscripts of Matthew 6:13, theologians such as Warren Wiersbe and R. T. Kendall, both agree that the words are absolutely true and therefore an extraordinary conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer. Beyond just the Lord’s Prayer, the phrase, “forever and ever, Amen” is found as a grand benediction to the eternal authority and power of God in many prayers through the scriptures. Let’s take a deeper look.
Where Is This Phrase Found in the Bible?
One of the earliest times we find, “forever and ever, Amen” in the scriptures is in the Old Testament book of 1 Chronicles. King David has had the ark of God delivered to his tent and all the people gathered to worship and present their offerings to God. After they all sang exuberant praises to God they finished with, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, forever and forever. All the people said, “Amen” (1 Chronicles 16:36, ICB).
In Psalm 10:16, David writes prophetically about Christ as the Messiah saying, “The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations will perish from his hand.”
Again the Psalmist writes in Psalm 45:6, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever.”
In the New Testament, we see this glorious benediction several times. In later manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew, it is included at the end of the Lord’s Prayer. Though it was not in the earliest manuscripts it is entirely possible that Jesus Himself said these words.
Many of the epistles written by the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter also include this benediction at the end of a doxology of praise. For example, in his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes, “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever, amen” (Philippians 4:20).
To Timothy, who was Paul’s spiritual son, Paul wrote, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever, amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).
Similarly, The Apostle Peter in his letter to believers, wrote, “To him be the power forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:11).
The Apostle John, in his final letter to the church, wrote about a vision where he saw every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever! The four living creatures said, Amen,” (Revelation 5:13-14).
In all of these scriptural passages the phrase, “forever and ever, amen,” is added as a benediction of praise to the eternal wonder of God’s glory and power.
What Is the Meaning of “Forever and Ever, Amen” in Prayer?
The glory, power, rule, and reign of Christ is something that is honored throughout the Bible as that which will go on forever and ever. It’s not just that our Savior will be alive forever. No. It is so much more! It’s that Christ will rule and reign forever as King.
When we pray these words as an ending to our prayers of praise, we mustn’t pray them flippantly. We are to remember that Christ is the victor for all eternity. This knowledge should propel us to our knees and lead us deeper into a spirit of worship. When we use the phrase, “forever and ever, Amen” in our worship, we come into agreement with God that the rule and reign of Christ will be for all eternity. We surrender our hearts to His rule and reign and we align our wills with His.
The benediction also reminds us that as the eternal King, the Alpha and the Omega, God holds a different perspective on time than ours. We need this reminder from time to time. In our human weakness, it’s easy to become impatient when God doesn’t move as quickly as we think He should. We forget that Christ holds eternity in His almighty hands and as such His timeline is very different from ours. While we grow impatient with his delays, He is shaping our character and setting the stage for the ways in which He wants to use us in His kingdom. In those moments, our faith is strengthened as we pray, “For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen.”
Should We End our Prayers with Amen?
There have been countless discussions on whether or not we should end our prayers with the word, “Amen.” While at times we mindlessly add an “Amen” to the end of our prayers, “the word literally means ‘so be it.’ However, it also carries a deeper meaning. It means that what has been spoken is reliable, trustworthy, and true.” Amen is then an affirmation of the truth we are praying. It is particularly poignant when we conclude our prayers of adoration and worship. According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary, as a verb, it means “something that is faithful, reliable, or believable” God Himself, is faithful, reliable, and true and so when we affirm His rule and reign in our prayers it is fitting that we end those prayers with a hearty, “Amen.”
As believers, we follow in the footsteps of the church fathers who often ended their prayers with “Amen.” However, we must be intentional and cognitive of how we are using the word. To use “Amen” flippantly is not an act of worship but rather a mindless ritual. Mindlessness in our prayers doesn’t please God. Thoughtfulness and intentionality are what pleases God. When we come into His holy presence intentionally and honor him with words that affirm his eternality, His faithfulness, His power, His glory, His wisdom, and His love, then it is wonderful to end our prayers with “Forever and ever, Amen.” Those character traits of His will continue on into all eternity. We affirm with our amen what is absolute truth and with our hearts bowed before Him, we say, “Oh Lord, Jesus, I worship You because You do rule and reign in absolute power and victory, for all eternity!”
Learning to become intentional with our praise should be a part of every believer’s prayer journey. Worship and praise are not just for Sunday morning in a worship service. It is to be a regular part of every believer’s daily walk. In our worship, we can borrow the words of the Biblical writers and echo their praise to King Jesus who rules and reigns with absolute glory and power forever and ever.
Why not take a break from the news that constantly barrages our minds with violence, evil, wars, and vitriolic speech. Instead, take some time to pray that Lord’s Prayer. Not as a ritual. Make it your own and pray the conclusion with confidence, “For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen!” Borrow the prayers of praise form the Apostles like, Peter, John, and Paul and use their prayers of praise that end with forever and ever, Amen. You can have confidence. Nothing can thwart His reign! He is the victorious ruler for all eternity!
R. T. Kendall, The Lord’s Prayer, (London, NW13BH; Hodder&Stoughton, 2010), 186
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Authentic. Passionate. Funny and Biblical all describe Becky Harling. A best-selling author, Becky is a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, and other events. She is the author of 11 books including, How to Listen so Your Kids Will Talk, Psalms for the Anxious Heart, and The Extraordinary Power of Praise. Becky is a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team and a seasoned Bible teacher. You can connect with Becky at www.beckyharling.com, www.harlingleadership.com, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/beckyharlingministries, Twitter, @beckyharling, or on Instagram at Becky Harling