Why do we end the Lord’s Prayer with the words, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen“? Some manuscripts of the New Testament include this doxological ending in what Jesus taught us, but most do not. Scholars believe that this ending was added by the early church in its liturgy, and is perhaps based on 1 Chronicles 29:11: “Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.”
So, we might wonder whether this ending is appropriate to pray at all. Why add to the perfect prayer? Why add to the prayer that Jesus taught us?
(I should point out that there are some faith traditions, notably the Roman Catholic Church, that separate this doxological ending from the rest of the prayer, but Lutherans and most Protestants include it as part of the Lord’s Prayer.)
When I pray the Lord’s Prayer, I always include this ending, and there is a reason why I do this that is significant to me. It is because, for me, this last part of the prayer gives glory to Jesus. When you think about it, this prayer so far has been addressed only to “Our Father in Heaven.” Jesus taught this prayer, but he is not the subject of this prayer. In fact, as I pointed out in my first post on the Lord’s Prayer (Why We Pray “Our Father”), when we pray “Our Father in Heaven,” it is as if Jesus is praying with us, joining us in praying to his Heavenly Father, who through Jesus is now our Heavenly Father, too. But this ending can viewed as a prayer to Jesus: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, now and forever. Amen.” Jesus, after all, is the king. His is the power and the glory. As Ephesians puts it, “God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come” (Ephesians 1:20-21).
So, I like to think that when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are praying with Jesus to our Father in Heaven, until this beautiful ending, when we now pray to Jesus. He is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, of course, so we are always praying to him and through him. But he is also worthy of our praise, specifically. He is the king who died for us. We have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. His is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. Now and always. And every time we conclude the Lord’s Prayer with this doxological ending, we are celebrating that and giving thanks for it.
My series on the Lord’s Prayer is coming to its end. We have just one last word: “Amen.” I will let Martin Luther explain this one, from his Small Catechism:
What does this mean? That I should be so certain that such petitions are acceptable to and heard by our Father in heaven, for God himself commanded us to pray like this and has promised to hear us. “Amen, amen” means “Yes, yes, it is going to come about just like this.”Martin Luther
Thanks be to God! Amen.
This is the ninth and final part in my series on the Lord’s Prayer. You can find the first eight parts here:
Why We Pray “Our Father”
What Does It Mean to Hallow God’s Name?
What Does It Mean to Pray “Thy Kingdom Come”?
What Does It Mean to Pray “Thy Will Be Done”?
What Does It Mean to Pray “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”?
What Does It Mean to Pray “Forgive Us Our Trespasses”?
What Does It Mean to Pray “Lead Us Not into Temptation”?
What Does It Mean to Pray, “Deliver Us from Evil”?