(Originally published Aug 30, 2009 by Rev. Jedidiah Maschke)
So far this summer, we’ve prayed a lot of important prayers. We’ve prayed “Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses. Lead us not into temptation, and Deliver us from evil.” This brings us to the conclusion of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, when we say the words, “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”
These last words remind us that we can be confident that God hears and responds to our prayers. The kingdom is His, the power is His, and the glory is all His, too. This assures us that when we pray this prayer as Jesus taught us to pray, it’s a sure thing that our petitions will be answered. We can be confident in this prayer.
Centuries before Jesus was born, both the psalmist and the prophet Isaiah foretold that the messiah would be a king and have a kingdom. In fact,
- Our God is king of the universe.
The psalmist writes in Psalm 83:18 You alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.
The prophecy of Isaiah that we read at Christmas also tells us about Jesus’ reign as king of the universe, when we read (Isaiah 9:6) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
When the angel came to Mary telling her she would bear the Savior, she was told, “he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
When Jesus was on trial before Pilate, He was asked “Are you a king?” Jesus’ answer was as clear as day, “I am a king.” St. Paul later writes to the Philippians about Christ’s humiliation, including His death on the cross for our forgiveness. But he continues about Jesus, in Philippians 2:9 – Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And in Revelation, John sees Jesus lifted high on a throne, and the redeemed and the angels sing to him, (Revelation 7:10b-12) “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Our biggest problem is that we generally try to make pretty much all of the decisions in our lives for ourselves. It’s a lot easier to follow our own desires and do the things that we want to without asking God to show us what to do with our lives. We don’t even stop to consider that Jesus is not just some far-away king of the universe, but also the ruler over everything that happens in our lives. It comes naturally to just cruise on in autopilot, doing whatever comes to us in that moment. It’s like we’re asking “Who is this God that I should obey His voice?”
That’s the question Pharaoh asked Moses when Moses brought the message of God saying, “Let my people go.” Pharaoh was secure in his wealth with his palaces and pyramids, and hardened his heart. Sometimes God tells us who He is, like He told Pharaoh. But all too often, like Pharaoh, we fight God’s will and try to impose our will on the world. And like Pharaoh and all his chariots and his army, God shows us that our way only leads to death and destruction.
Nebuchadnezzar was another king who thought he was on top of the world. He took God’s name in vain and blasphemed God, but God let him lose his mind. Nebuchadnezzar ended up running around like an animal on all fours, eating grass, having lost all respect he had commanded as the king.
When we pray “Thine is the kingdom” we’re praying to remind ourselves that God’s kingdom of heaven and the church is coming into this world, and the kings and rulers who are now in power can’t do a thing to stop it. The things that we ask for in our Lord’s Prayer are the blessings of God’s kingdom. We can’t make anything we ask for by ourselves; all that we have has to come from God and His kingdom, and we can’t ask for too much.
The prayer goes on … Thine is the power. A kingdom without power is like a bird without wings. God’s people, those who believe and confess that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, take joy in the fact that
- Our God has the power to help us.
David believed and confessed this in his blessing in …
1 Chronicles 29:12 where he says “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.”
When King Hezekiah, one of the last Godly kings of Israel, and the city of Samaria were surrounded by Sennacherib and the Assyrian army of 185,000 soldiers, Hezekiah knew that there was nothing he could do to win that battle. So he went to the temple and prayed. God answered his prayer by sending an angel: one, single angel, all alone. God has legions of angels, but he only needed to send one. And that night, that one angel killed every soldier in the camp surrounding Israel, 185,000 of them.
God’s power can come through displays of military might or riches or influence over disease and the powers of nature. God shows his power through Jesus when He comes to the earth and controls the weather, heals disabilities and diseases, casts out demons, and even raises people from the dead. But Jesus’ main power, the reason for which He ultimately came, was the power to help us by forgiving our sins and reconciling us to God. When a paralytic was brought to Jesus, Jesus looked straight at the man and said, “Your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees recognized the power that Jesus had claimed with that one statement, and accused him of blasphemy because, they said, “Who can forgive but God alone?” But Jesus called out their unbelief and told the man to take up his bed and walk … and he did! That is the power Jesus commanded.
The apostles also learned this: Just before his ascension, Jesus told the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching. They were up against a world which was completely heathen, who hated Christ and were superstitious and immoral. But they went, declaring the message of forgiveness and reconciliation, and Christ blessed them. Before they died, the Christian faith was planted in every major city in the Roman Empire, and many places beyond. Idols had been toppled, books of sorcery were discarded, and lives were changed.
When we pray “forgive us our trespasses,” we’re praying for God to continue the ministry He began with Jesus. All real, lasting power in this world is derived from the power to forgive sins. That power to forgive sins ultimately comes from God, but now He has given us that power. When I have the privilege of forgiving your sins, and I can say “I forgive you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” that forgiving power comes to you and there is NOTHING that can separate us from the God who forgives. Nothing is stronger than His power. He can do anything, and he has reached out to you in his forgiving power in the Word of Absolution, in the Word with the Water in Baptism, and in the Word with the Bread and Wine that offers Jesus’ own body and blood for you. Forgiveness is yours. That’s powerful.
Finally, we pray “for thine is the glory, forever and ever.” Just like the kingdom and the power, the glory is ultimately God’s. That’s # …
- Our God has the glory.
When we think that that God can and will glorify us, we’re mistaken. In Isaiah 42:8, God says, 8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other. God has all the glory, and God deserves all the glory. We owe everything that we have and even everything that we are all to him. This isn’t just about thanking God for his gifts or giving God honor and fame.
God’s glory is His presence.
God’s glory is about His incarnation, His becoming a human being and living with us, like us, and for us. John 1:14b talking about Jesus, says, “We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Later, when Jesus is preaching, he says (John 12:) 28 “Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” God’s name is glorified in Jesus.
Our confidence in this prayer is built on faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us this prayer, and He makes it possible for us to pray this prayer. We can pray to God our Father, in fact God IS our Father because Jesus died for us, to bring us into His family, to become heirs with Him in our heavenly inheritance. All of this confirms and strengthens our faith when we pray this prayer. God has commanded us to pray this way, and He wants to give us what we ask for. G od owns the kingdom. He has the power to give us what we ask for, and when He answers our prayer, it brings Him glory. And so we pray with the psalmist in Psalm 145:10 – All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! 11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, 12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Finally, we conclude by saying Amen.
Amen means… “Yes, it shall be so.”
Amen is Hebrew word that should make us confident in what we pray. When we say “Amen” we’re making a confession of our belief that our prayer will be heard by God and He will respond to it. “Amen” means that the words which we speak or the prayers which we approve come from our hearts as well as our minds, that we’re excited to present our requests to God. Our desire, our longing and yearning for God’s will has been expressed in these words because we know that our prayer is a sure thing.
Sometimes the word Amen is translated as “Truly” in the Bible. One example of this is in John 14: 12 where Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
When we say “Amen” we should say it like we mean it: with confidence. Jesus has promised that if we ask anything in His name, He will do it. Amen shows that we don’t doubt.
We pray this our Lord’s Prayer because we know that God is listening and our prayers will be answered. Whether we pray for ourselves or for others, whether spiritual blessings or blessings for our bodies, we can storm the gates of heaven with this prayer, with all of Christendom at our side. We join together in the pilgrim throng, coming before God with confidence, knowing that He will give us all good things in our times of need.