First time hearing prayer in a Bible Church like ours I was taken aback. You can pray not from a book? i had only heard group prayer in the Catholic Church I had gone to sporadically as a kid. So I was like, who are these people who freely talk to God? how do they know what to say? And especially, they must really know God to talk to Him so freely.
And I stuck around, and I became a Christian. Like, a real Christian. And a proud Christian. I looked down on churches that had formalized prayers. After all, I had been in a church with formalized prayers and never once heard the gospel. So I cam to believe that there was a difference between religion - stuffy, formalized, ritualized prayers, and churches that taught that you needed a relationship with God - which meant spontaneous, informal, personal prayers. And I hated recited religion-y prayers.
There was probably a lot of factors in my mindset changing a bit. Probably maturity helped. A lot. In many areas. But I really had a bit of a mindset change on Japan. Let me tell you about our church in Japan. The recited literacy was the only way to participate in the service. Gave me a language to pray.
That’s exactly what recited prayers are supposed to do - give us a language to pray, to literally teach us to pray. Not to become ritualistic, but to teach us how to do something that to be honest, many of us are not good at. How do we speak to God?
And that brings us back to the beginning, the disciples asked Jesus, teach us to pray. And Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer to form us, to guide us, to give us a language of prayer. But we must be careful to not simply rotely recite it, but to pray it from the heart and to add our wholehearted “Amen, Amen” to it.
Amen amen, means I agree I agree. Truly truly. It takes what is formal and rite and makes it individual and personal.
Today we’re finishing our series on the Lord’s Prayer and I’m going to be preaching a text, that if you open your Bible and find the Lord’s Prayer either as recorded in Matthew or in Luke, only some of you will find it in the text of your Bibles, I am speaking of the doxology, the final words we say at the end of the Lord’s prayer, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever amen.” Perhaps you are surprised to find those words omitted from the Bible. What are we to do with those words?
First: The Doxology Was Almost Certainly Not Taught By Jesus
- It is not found in Luke’s version of the Lord’s prayer (in any manuscripts) in Luke 11:1-4
- It is not found in the two earliest and best preserved Greek manuscripts that we have of the book of Matthew.
- It is not referenced by any of the earliest church fathers who made comment on the text. Turtullian and Origin at the end of the second century both wrote commentaries on the entire Lord’s Prayer, Tertullian in Rome and Origin in Alexandria, and neither mentioned the ending. We have record of five other extensive commentaries by church fathers on the Lord’s prayer in the third and fourth centuries, and only Chrystostom who wrote at the end of the fourth century, is the first church father to include the doxology in his commentary.
- There are some earlier writing that mention a doxology before Chrystostom’s time, yet when it is found in early writings, the form of the doxology varies (it doesn’t seem to be standardized)
- Finally, we have some records of church services that include the doxology as we have it in the 6th to 8th centuries, yet even then the doxology was set apart from the rest of the prayer, indicating that Church tradition recognized that the doxology was separate from the prayer. For example, the church would recite the Lord’s Prayer together, but only the person leading the services would say the doxology.
- The doxology was not included in the Latin Vulgate, which is about as early as the Greek Manuscripts that we have in Matthew, and which became the most influential Catholic translation of the scriptures. Thus, while the doxology was used in the churches, it was not understood as part of scripture.
- For all these reasons, most modern translations do not include the doxology, only referencing it in a footnote. the King James Version is one of the only translations that include the doxology as the words of Scripture, and that is because when it was translated way back in 1511, the best manuscripts they had included the doxology.
How did it get into those manuscripts if it wasn’t part of the original text? No one knows for sure, but it probably was that some scribe in the third century or so was so used to saying it in church every week, saying it by memory week after week, and he was copying the biblical text by hand and out of habit added it in, and then later other scribes copied his work and before you know it you have a whole family of manuscripts that have the doxology accidentally added to the text of the Bible.
I tell you this not to discourage you or confuse you about the Bible, that you can’t trust the words in the Bible as being what the apostle’s wrote. On the contrary, Christians think it is so important to study and research manuscripts so that we can make sure that we get it right.
Second, The Doxology is Indeed Biblical
Even though the doxology is almost certainly not part of the Lord’s Prayer, you should understand that if and when we pray the doxology what we are affirming is biblical and therefore a good thing to pray. For those of you who need to be assured that you are praying a “biblical” prayer, every word of the doxology can be found in David’s prayer at the end of his life in 1 Chronicles 29:
1Chr. 29:10 Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 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. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
Not only are the words biblical, but each of the concepts of the doxology are taught directly in the Lord’s prayer:
Yours is the Kingdom: Jesus has taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done on Earth as it is in heaven” In the Lord’s prayer we recognize that the Lord has full authority over us and not only over us but over all the earth. We prayed that his reign would ever increase, and indeed, that the fulness of his kingdom be consummated on earth. So when we pray, “Yours is the Kingdom” we pray, yes, AMEN!
Yours is the Power: Jesus has taught us to pray, “Give us this day, forgive us our sins, lead us not into temptation, and deliver us” - each one of these petitions makes sense because the Lord possess all power to respond to our petitions. “Yours is the Power” we pray, yes, AMEN!
Yours is the Kingdom: Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name” - remember we said to hallow something means that it be respected and honoured as holy. That God’s character and reputation may be held in highest esteem. “Yours is the Glory” we pray, yes, AMEN!
The Doxology is the Church’s Affirmation and AMEN to the Lord’s Prayer
While the doxology is almost certainly not taught by Jesus in the Lord’s prayer, the historical record reveals that whenever the Lord’s Prayer has been prayed by the church, the church has responded with the doxology as our own AMEN!
LSC: The Conclusion: For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen. What does this mean?
This means that I should be certain that these petitions are pleasing to our Father in heaven, and are heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen means “yes, yes, it shall be so.”
A Simple Way to Pray: Finally, mark this, that you must always speak the Amen firmly. Never doubt that God in his mercy will surely hear you and say "yes" to your prayers. Never think that you are kneeling or standing alone, rather think that the whole of Christendom, all devout Christians, are standing there beside you and you are standing among them in a common, united petition which God cannot disdain. Do not leave your prayer without having said or thought, "Very well, God has heard my prayer; this I know as a certainty and a truth." That is what Amen means.
To pray the doxology is an act of trust, submission and faith.
The doxology is not only our Amen, but it well encapsulates the Christian response to God’s salvation in Christ. What does it mean to be a Christian - it is to acknowledge and to agree and to embrace and to proclaim and to exalt in the reality that God is our King - yours is the Kingdom. He is our strength - yours is the power, and He is our glory - yours is the glory.
Is God your King?
To pray “yours is the kingdom” is to step down from the throne of our lives. Make no mistake - there are only two kingdoms: the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of hell. The greatest theme of Jesus’ teaching was that the kingdom of heaven is available to all who will come through faith in him. Yet a nearly equal them in his teaching was the warning to these who rejected his message that they would not enter his kingdom, meaning that they will spend eternity in hell.
Is God your Strength?
Do you have the power to live the Christian life? No, of course not - not in yourself. However, theres the story about a father who watched through the kitchen window as his small son attempted to lift a large stone out of his sandbox. The boy was frustrated as he wrestled with the heavy object because he just couldn't get enough leverage to lift it over the side. Finally the boy gave up and sat down dejectedly on the edge of the sandbox with his head in his hands.
The father went outside and asked, "What's wrong, Son? Can't you lift that rock out?
"No, sir," the boy said, "I can't do it."
"Have you used all the strength that's available to you?" the father asked.
"Yes, sir," the boy replied.
"No, you haven't," the father said. "You haven't asked me to help you."
Is God your Glory?
We tend to think of glory as brightness, but the greek word glory refers more to a sense of weightiness. We say in english for example, to take someone lightly, is to minimize their importance. “The glory of God’s refers to his importance, his weightiness, his dignity, his significance he is the most substantial of all”
Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
He must increase, I must decrease.
100 times in 90 minutes: the number of times the name of Jesus was referenced at Billy Graham’s funeral.