Friday, May 23, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Benediction

"[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]" Matthew 6:13c (HCSB)

We come to the Benediction of this prayer. A benediction according to Merriam-Webster online is the invocation of a blessing; the short blessing with which public worship is concluded. This is how we end - invoking a blessing.  The brackets in the HCSB means that Biblical scholars and the HCSB translation team do not believe that this was part of the original text. Still, in many ways as we consider the Model that this displays, it is important. If we leave it out - we start with the Father and end with the Devil. It would be moving from Heaven to Hell. we are starting with the Father, staying with the Father, and ending with the Father.

Warren Wiersbe* says that even though this is not part of the original text, it is believed to be "added when churches began to pray the Lord's Prayer together in public worship. In the Didache, a second-century local church manual, it reads, 'For thine is the power and the glory forever.'" It is believed that this is based upon the Benediction that David gave at the commissioning of Solomon to build the Temple. Consider the words of 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

"Then David praised the Lord in the sight of all the assembly. David said,
May You be praised, Lord God of our father Israel, from eternity to eternity. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks and praise Your glorious name."

Let us consider some important words in Matthews passage. First, consider "kingdom" (Greek basile). Matthew's gospel is the Kingdom Gospel - it presents Jesus as the King. In this passage, the word refers to the reign of the Messiah. In the earlier statement, we saw the request for "Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." In these closing words, the one praying is acknowledging that the Kingdom already belongs to the Messiah - the Christ - God.

Then we have the word "power" (Greek dunamis). This word carries the meaning of strength and ability. we get our words dynamite and dynamo from this word. Paul shows us a glimspe of this concept in Ephesians 3:20-21 - "Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

The next word to muse over is "glory" (Greek doxa). It means the opinion or estimate that brings to one honor resulting from this. The glory of God is who or what He demonstrates Himself to be. We give the praise and honor to God - thus giving to Him glory. Not that He needs our opinion or honor, but it our way of ascribing to Him Who He Is. 

Consider the word "forever" (Greek eis tous aiṓn). It means literally "unto the ages." It marks an unending period of time. Thus we see the picture of eternity present and future. Finally, see the word "amen" (Greek amḗn). It means - so be it, or may it be fulfilled. It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own.

So to end this short study on the Model Prayer, today begin to muse over those five words - kingdom, power, glory, forever, and amen. Consider whether you are faithful as a child and servant to the King. Do you depend upon His power, is your motive to glorify Him, and is this with eternity in view? Can I truly say Amen to these thoughts and concepts in this Model Prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Jack Hayford

Majesty, worship his majesty
Unto jesus be all glory, power and praise
Majesty, kingdom authority flow from his throne
Unto his own his anthem raise
So exalt lift up on high the name of jesus
Magnify, come glorify christ jesus the king
Majesty, worship his majesty
Jesus who died now glorified
King of all kings.

* Warren Wiersbe, 2010. On Earth as It Is In Heaven, Baker Books, Grand Rapids Michigan.

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