Sermon 2

The Lord’s Prayer

Doxology: “For Thine Is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for Ever. Amen.”

Rex D. Edwards is a former vice president for religious studies at Griggs University.

“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” The textual and liturgical background of these words is interesting. This doxology is absent from the original text of Matthew’s Gospel; however, it is found in the Didache, the earliest existing Christian Church-order, which some date early in the second century. Its absence does not mean that Jesus intended His prayer to be recited without a word of praise at the end, but, in the very earliest times, the doxology had no fixed form, and its precise wording was left to those who prayed. Later on, when the Lord’s Prayer began to be used in the services of the church as a common prayer, it was felt necessary to establish the doxology in a fixed form.

Regardless, this chant is a jubilant acknowledgment of our encounter with God. The physical and spiritual refreshment that is the first result of praying resounds in these final words. How are we to interpret them?


Though now we see not all things put under Him, yet He is the kingdom and the power and the glory. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus are to us the assurance that we shall see the final triumph of right over wrong, light over darkness. The kingdom, ushered in with the incarnation of Jesus, will reach complete and perfect consummation at His coming. He must reign. The “power” is in the hands of almighty love. The “glory” will be His alone. But the words are more than a statement of fact.


Notice that the apostle Paul loves to end his prayers with praise. Note two examples: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think . . . to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph 3:20–21). “How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out . . . . For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Rom 11:33, 36). Just as some of Paul’s great dogmatic passages burgeon out his praise, so do all his prayers. So does the Lord’s Prayer. This is not just a good liturgical principle; it is good theology and good religion. It is an expression of true religious experience that proper prayer issues in adoration and thanksgiving and praise.


Consider, for a moment, what happens to us when we pray this prayer. We have looked up into the face of God and called Him “Father.” A father worthy of that title wills nothing but good for his child. If that is true on the human level, how much truer it is of God in His relationship with His children! The person who prays the opening invocation to this prayer acknowledges that true happiness is found only when he rests in the fact that “in His will is our peace.” The Christian, therefore, is the integrated, fundamentally happy man, because he is “in the will of God,” at peace. He does not fret. He lives as one whose Father is the Most High.

The Sermon on the Mount begins with a description of the Christian disciple (Matt 5:3–12). If the opening verses were translated back into the Aramaic from which they were originally spoken, they would be seen as a series of exclamations: “O how happy are the poor! . . . O happy are they who mourn!” Indeed, the New English Bible gives these verses their proper exclamatory form: “How blest . . . ! How blest . . . !”


Naturally, when we pray this prayer, we find ourselves engaging frequently in adoration: in the doxology, in the Gloria, or in some other kind of thanksgiving. We can hardly do otherwise. No, we do not shut our eyes to the evil in the world; sin and suffering and death are realities to us. We do not expect to escape them just because we are sons and daughters of God. They come at us as they come at others; we are not exempt from “the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.” But we can “give thanks always for all things” (Eph 5:20, MEV, emphasis added) because we are in touch with a God who has a way of turning life’s minuses into plusses, life’s negatives into positives, life’s sad minor keys into triumphant majors. Jesus turned that cross into a sign of victory so that, even on the tree, He reigned! He has been doing that kind of thing ever since. So we begin to understand what Paul means when he writes, “All things are yours.” Note that Paul includes death on the list (1 Cor 3:21–22). Death is yours, for you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s. So the ogre becomes a friend. I ask you, which of us regards death as the final stop? No one! For, at the resurrection, death becomes the entrance into life abundant and eternal.

So, the Lord’s Prayer reaches its climax in words of adoration. It has taught us to think of God as Father (“Our Father”), as King (“Thy kingdom come”), as Governor (“Thy will be done”), as Provider (“Give us . . . bread”), as Pardoner (“Forgive us our trespasses”), as Guide (“Lead us”), and as Deliverer (“Deliver us from evil”). The prayer that began with the adoration of God and proceeded to petition swings back to the God-centered attitude of adoration in the doxology: “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.”


This word is strong and powerful. It puts into two brief syllables the meditative gladness of a great assent: “So be it!”

Sometimes it should be shouted. How wonderful to have a share in the divine plan, in God’s strategy for His world and His church! “Amen: so be it! By His mercy, He and I are in this together!”

Sometimes it should be deliberately whispered. The way of the cross is costly. It hurts. But, “Amen: so be it.” He calls. I follow, even unto death. “Amen” is assent, and assent involves sacrifice.

The biographer of Studdert Kennedy, in trying to assess his attitude to prayer, writes, “True prayer, when it is that kind which asks, is for courage to endure, never for permission to survive.”1 That is to say “Amen” from a full heart, just as Jesus, on the cross, said “Amen” to God’s will and cried, “It is finished!” He who was the AMEN thus said His amen: “Finished! Fulfilled!”


Finally, the doxology reminds us that nothing was more vivid to Jesus than the reign of God, nothing more definite than the ultimate conquest. Men, by squatters’ rights, contest God’s rights, but God is Master, and this is His world. He has bought it with a heart broken, a Son crucified. The time has not yet come, and meanwhile, there is agony, judgment, a dark impenetrable glass. But belief has broken into our suspicion. There are times when God’s love floods the heart, leaving little room for doubt. Then we know that Christ’s cross has clinched the decisive victory. His prayer has pledged that final day of glory, when heaven and earth, God and man, are reconciled forever.

1 William Purcell, Woodbine Willie, 148.

Rex D. Edwards is a former vice president for religious studies at Griggs University