The Struggle of Prayer (Pt.9)

Haven’t posted one of these for a while, bur few things are more important:

PART 8

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. – Matt.6:13b

This last refrain from the model prayer given by our Lord should not be bypassed.  Modern Bible translations omit it in line with the textual practices used to produce them.  I am not in the business right now of debating the rights and wrongs of the issue.  My only concern is with this passage as a confession of faith and hope; and as such, it is both apropos and biblical.

We have seen that the first petition of ‘the Lord’s Prayer’ after the salutation: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name” concerns the coming of the kingdom.  As I stated in Part Four of this series,

“In its setting in the early ministry of Jesus (see for example Matt. 10: 5-7), the kingdom would mean only one thing to the disciples and the people in general.  It would mean the Messianic Golden Age promised by the Prophets in Isaiah 2, 11, 62, and Micah 4 (cf. Acts 1:6).  Therefore, in its proper context, this petition looks forward to the return of Christ and His righteous reign over the earth. “

Now this ending statement closes with the same hopeful thought.  But it couples it with the attributes of God’s power and glory.  These two attributes are possibly the central ones in consideration of the coming reign of Christ the King.  His power will ensure that His righteous will is done, and also that the created earth is kept in check by its Lord.  God’s glory is, in large part, what the kingdom age is all about.  After the Fall, in no other epoch of human history has creation reflected God’s glory, and human beings, made in God’s image and likeness, have not exhibited that image and likeness.

This being true, God has scarcely seen His glory reflected back at Him by us or by this created realm.  But this realm was created for His glory!  He could not have created it for something else’s glory.  If He were to do so He would have to deny Himself; which God cannot do (2 Tim. 2:13c).

Furthermore, this statement is doxological.  It ascribes praise and glory to God.  Prayer that does not praise is hardly prayer at all.  Prayer without praise is not locked in on God as its target.  The writer of Hebrews explains, “he who comes to God must believe that He is…” (Heb.11:6).  This means that we must believe that God is really there and He is Who He says He is.  Now, that being so, we can hardly think of thinking about god as He really is and not offering up praise and worship to Him.

The great Methodist Bible commentator Adam Clarke (d. 1832) wrote:

“Prayer is the language of dependence; he who prays not is endeavoring to live independently of God; this was the first curse, and continues to be the great curse of mankind.”

A prayer that includes a doxology like the one at the end of ‘the Lord’s Prayer’ tells God of our earnest wish not to be left to ourselves and our own devices.  Independence from God is indeed what Adam Clarke called it, “the great curse of mankind.”  Therefore we should all want to take full part in a kingdom on earth that is God’s!

 

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2 comments

  1. It is interesting that John Chrysostom includes reference to the doxology in his Homily XIX on the Gospel According to St. Matthew, probably written in the late 4th century. The conjunctive “for” relates 6:13b to 6:13a – “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” [not ‘evil’, but literally ‘evil one’ in Greek]: “Having then made us anxious as before conflict, by putting us in mind of the enemy, and having cut away from us all our remissness; He again encourages and raises our spirits, by bringing to our remembrance the King under whom we are arrayed, and signifying Him to be more powerful than all. “For Thine,” saith He, “is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.”

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