Lord's Prayer--The Doxology
Sermon Text: Matthew 6:13
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Often times our thoughts are correct but our confidence is lacking. Have you ever listened to a child recite his memory assignment but he ended it with a questioning tone of voice like he was unsure of himself? He might have said something like this: I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary--is my Lord? Or, when we adults in a Bible class think we know what a passage is referring to but we are not sure of ourselves, we may say quietly to ourselves something like, The mercy of God? or whatever we think may be the correct answer.
Do we carry this lack of confidence over into our prayers as well? Do we find ourselves wondering whether our Father does answer our prayers, for it seems at times that he does not? When we come to the word Amen, therefore, does our mind think of it as a wish? I hope so. I hope this prayer will be heard and answered.
Our prayers should end on a more confident note that our Father will hear and answer our prayers. This is especially true of the Lords Prayer. When we have prayed the Lords Prayer, we have prayed a prayer which upon being answered will take us through life each day and deliver us safely to our eternal home. Having prayed its address and seven petitions, what more can we say or do than rejoice and praise our Father with a faith that believes he will surely answer our prayer. This we do in the doxology of the Lords Prayer, which is a hymn of praise and a confession of faith.
We all to some extent have an appreciation of music. We listen to the movement of its melody and to its rising crescendos, and we feel our spirits being lifted with it. In a very moving piece of music we feel the excitement of its grand finale and we hang on to its last ringing chord. The doxology is like such a grand finale. The whole prayer is an absolute master piece, which touches the heart and grips the spirit as we pour out our concerns to our loving Savior God and Father. And when we come to its conclusion, its doxology lifts us to lofty heights of adoration and praise to him who hears and answers us.
The doxology of the Lord’s Prayer is a hymn of praise. Numerous doxologies well up within the Scriptures from the spirits of the holy writers. Our hearts are touched by such hymns of praise as: “Oh, the depth of the riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God; … For all things are from him and through him and to him. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Our spirits are also moved by the doxologies of the angels which are recorded in the Book of Revelation, where we hear them sing, “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen!” Likewise the church of believers, of which we are a part, has been singing its hymns of praise to our God and Savior throughout the centuries, as it does in the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer.
The doxology of the Lords Prayer is a hymn of praise of the church to our Father in heaven. It appears to have been added to the Lords Prayer in the early centuries by the church of believers, whose spirits were moved by the Holy Spirit to close out this beautiful prayer in such a grandiose fashion. The doxology does not seem to have been a part of Jesus prayer recorded in Matthew, though its words have been included in our Bibles with appropriate footnotes that it was included in later ancient manuscripts.
The fact that it may have been added by our ancient brothers in Christ should not upset or bother us, however; for even Jesus modified its wording and did not pray it exactly the same way each time he taught it. He taught the Lords Prayer in his Sermon on the Mount near the beginning of his ministry and again later at the end of his ministry while on the way to Jerusalem for the last time. A comparison of the Lords Prayer as he gave it in his Sermon of the Mount and as he gave it later reveal he did not use the exact same words on both occasions, and he did not pray it in exactly the same manner either. So there is no reason for us to be alarmed that the doxology was added to the Lords Prayer as a closing hymn of praise
The truth is, the doxology is an extremely fitting conclusion to this prayer, for it agrees with what the Scriptures teach us about our Father and it ends the prayer on such a lofty song of praise. When we pray this doxology, we join with the church of all ages in praising our Father and confessing our faith.
In praise of our Father we say, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” The Greek word for kingdom means kingship. To our Father belongs the kingship. He is our King, the King of the universe or kingdom of power, the King of the kingdom of grace, and the King of the kingdom of glory. He is our ruler. In the kingdom of God he rules over us, for us, and within us by the power of his Word and gospel. To him belongs the kingdom of God, the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory for which we pray in this prayer.
We praise him in adoration with the words “For yours is the power.” To him belongs the might and strength and force which cannot be resisted or overthrown. The Greek word for power in this doxology is the word from which our word dynamite is derived. So we praise him who is almighty, with whom all things are possible and nothing is impossible, as we also do in Psalm 115:3: “Now our God is in heaven, he does all that he desires.” What his good will and pleasure choose to do his almighty power accomplishes.
To our Father be the glory. His is the radiance, the brilliance, the splendor as the Father of lights from whom comes every good and perfect gift. He dwells in the unapproachable light which none of us can now see and live. His is the glory, the fame, the renown, the honor of being the only true God--the Creator of the universe, the Savior of all mankind, the Sanctifier of us Christians. His Word and his works have been sung and praised throughout history, as we do in this doxology, for he is our God who has done all things well.
What a fitting concluding hymn of praise as sung by a church of believers who seek first the kingdom of God. Its closing words are majestic, like a grand finale, reaching upwards to the lofty heights of praise and a confession of faith.
This doxology is a concluding confession of faith which believes this prayer will be received and heard. With this doxology we are confessing that this Lord’s Prayer is an acceptable prayer to our heavenly Father. We believe it is acceptable for several reasons. First, his own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, with whom he was well pleased, commanded us to pray this prayer when he began the prayer by saying, “You pray, then, in this manner.” Second, this Lord’s Prayer seeks first the kingdom of God, which Jesus told us to do when he said in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” This prayer seeks his kingdom by asking that our Father’s name be hallowed, his kingdom come, and his will be done.
The Lords Prayer plainly seeks the kingdom of God, for six of its seven petitions ask for spiritual blessings. What is more, the seventh petition and the doxology bring us back full circle to the address. We began by addressing our Father; we conclude by praising our Father. And when he grants the seventh petition, Deliver us from evil, we will have God as our Father forever, his name will be hallowed forever, his kingdom of grace will bring us into his kingdom of glory forever, and his will for us will have been done and like the angels we will do his will perfectly forever.
Another reason we confess with this doxology that we are certain that this Lords Prayer is acceptable to our Father in heaven is because it glorifies him. When we bring our requests and petitions to him, the only true God and our Savior, we glorify him and his name. He is most pleased to hear us come to him with our requests for his kingdom and for his aid and salvation.
Thus with this doxology we also confess our faith that this Lord’s Prayer will be answered. We are confident it will be answered, for our Father has promised to give us what we ask when we pray in Jesus’ name. We pray the Lord’s Prayer in Jesus’ name when we begin with the words “Our Father,” for God is our Father only through Jesus Christ. We are also confident it will be answered because we know that what we are asking is according to our Father’s will. 1 John 5:14, 15 tell us, “And this is the confidence that we have with regard to him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we had asked from him.”
There is yet another reason we are confident this prayer will be answered. That is this: his is the power. Our Father, the Almighty God, has the power to grant us what we ask for and even more than what we ask for. As Ephesians 3:20, 21 state in this doxology: “Now to him who is able to do all things in extreme abundance, infinitely more than what we ask or think, according to the power that is at work in us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever! Amen.”
How comforting it is to know when we are concerned about having the necessities of life, when we are troubled by a knowledge of our sins, when we are struggling with temptations, when we are hurt and depressed by all the evils we suffer in this world--that our requests in the Lords Prayer for our Fathers aid and deliverance are heard and answered. If it were not for the comfort and strength we derive from knowing our petitions in the Lords Prayer were acceptable and heard, we would fall into despair and hopelessness over all the hardships and evils with which we must contend on our journey through life to heaven.
Having this confidence that our petitions are acceptable and heard, we end it with the word “Amen.” No, the word amen does not mean “the end.” Nor does it mean: “I hope so. I hope and wish things will turn out as I have asked in this prayer.” Amen comes from the Hebrew word which means truly. So with the word “amen” we conclude with the confession of faith, “Truly, this will come to pass as I have asked. As I have prayed in this prayer, so it will be done. Yes, it shall be so!”
So, too, we conclude
this series of sermons on the Lords Prayer with this word
of confidence and certainty: Amen! So will it be done!