The Lord’s Prayer is a fascinating, deeply complex, and surprisingly simple prayer. This series articles pairs a stained glass window from a small church with each petition of the Lord’s Prayer. In each post, we will see how the symbols in the window help us to understand what Jesus says to us when he commands us to pray this chief prayer. Check out the previous posts in this series: Look up our selection of Lord’s Prayer jewelry to remind you of this wonderful prayer.Our Father who art in heaven,
Look up our selection of Lord’s Prayer jewelry to remind you of this wonderful prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer, and most Christian prayers, ends with a simple word, “Amen.” We say it without thinking, “What does this word mean?” It’s more than just a holy period at the end of our prayers, a word that signifies to everyone involved that the prayer is over. The word, “amen,” says something about how Christians approach prayer and the promises that God has given us.
Biblical use of the word, “amen,” begins in the Old Testament. It is, first of all, a transliteration of the Hebrew word, אמנ. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (volume 1, pages 335-338) traces “amen’s” history in which it cites three uses for the word:
Often “amen” is a response, by which someone other than the speaker confirms the speaker’s words. It acknowledges that the word spoken is valid and true.
The New Testament, while written in Greek, uses the word, too. The Greek version is also a transliteration of the Hebrew term, αμην. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament sees three uses in the New Testament as well:
In the New Testament, “amen” seems to retain similar usage to the Old Testament.
If the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament correctly identifies the meanings, the final use of “amen” is most applicable to the way we use it at the end of the Lord’s Prayer. When we say, “amen,” we are acknowledging that God has promised to hear us and commanded us to pray. That’s exactly how Martin Luther explains the word when he writes in his Small Catechism , “That I should be certain that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven and heard; for He Himself has commanded us so to pray, and has promised that He will hear us. Amen, Amen; that is, Yes, Yes, it shall be so.”
“Amen” means that we have sure confidence that God listens to our prayers and responds to them. We have the command to pray at all times for all our cares, not just the prayer that Jesus taught us. We use the word, “amen,” to show our trust that God listens to us. In the Lord’s Prayer, we have a double-promise: Jesus commanded us to pray these very words when the disciples asked him to teach them to pray. We know that the prayer that Jesus taught is the highest and most holy of prayers. When we say, “Amen,” to it, we know that God listens to us.
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