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The End of the Lord's Prayer: Amen

November 20, 2017 7 Comments

The End of the Lord's Prayer: Amen

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,
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil

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.

Origin of Amen

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:

  • A confirmation of a task assigned by a someone that would need God’s will to happen. See 1 Kings 1:36.
  • Confirmation of a divine curse or threat to a person. See Numbers 5:22 and Deuteronomy 27:15 and following
  • To attest the praise of God after a doxology. See 1 Chronicles 16:36 and Nehemiah 8:6.

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:

  • Jesus uses the word to introduce some of his teachings as reliable and true. He frequently says, “Truly, I say to you…” See Matthew 13
  • A liturgical response to some worshipful praise of God, such as the four beasts of Revelation 5:14
  • The end of Christian prayers and doxologies, which acts as a way of affirming the truth of the words and belief that they will be done

In the New Testament, “amen” seems to retain similar usage to the Old Testament.

Amen and the Lord’s Prayer

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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7 Responses

Rosemary Alto
Rosemary Alto

November 26, 2018

love this

Marcia Mildenburger
Marcia Mildenburger

November 26, 2018

Enjoy reading your blogs. Informative. Keep up the good work. Blessings on your endeavors to educate.

Leann Anderson
Leann Anderson

April 27, 2018

I don’t have any money to pay for the things that you are offering unfortunately! Not until next month!

Lupe'
Lupe'

January 16, 2018

“Amen!” Awesome writing…Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, am greatly blessed!

Jacquelyn Riege
Jacquelyn Riege

January 14, 2018

I love my Father, He is so good.

Polly walker
Polly walker

January 07, 2018

So refreshing to hear the true teaching of God,s word even on prayer and Amen. I say Amen after every prayer . God is faithful in answering prayers.

Roland Carlson
Roland Carlson

December 13, 2017

I am looking for a plaque of the Lord’s Prayer that uses the terms “sins and sin against” as opposed to “debts” or trespass". Do you know where I can find one?

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