The Lord’s Prayer (10): Now and Forever
Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendour,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
1 Chronicles 29:11
'For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.'
Although it has been used from early Christian times, the best manuscripts of the Lord's Prayer do not contain the doxology. It certainly echoes biblical sentiments, however, and it's no surprise that it worked its way into the church's liturgy. It somehow seems a richly appropriate way to end. As we work through this prayer, using its words as given to us, or using it as a pattern for our praying, how else should we end but with unconditional worship and praise? As we pray about our daily needs, our daily repentance, our forgiveness of others, our daily temptations and trials, the doxology allows us to offer a final act of trust and faith.
We know that some pray for daily bread in times of desperation and hunger; that some have betrayals and sins that are hard to confess, and even harder to forgive in others; that the temptations and addictions some face are overwhelming. Yet, ending with this shout of praise echoes Habakkuk's great 'whatever':
'Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen or cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour' (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
For some time now I have only used the words of the Lord's Prayer communally in church. I wonder whether we need to be stopped in our tracks before we pray it together publicly, and challenged to think about what we are saying before we start. And should we not use the words as a pattern for our own private prayers? Do we hear Jesus saying, 'Pray then in this way...', and 'When you pray, say...'?
As we follow its pattern, this prayer shapes us as disciples - putting God's name and kingdom first, acknowledging him as the one who provides for our daily needs, asking him for forgiveness even as we forgive others, recognising that he is the one who will preserve us in moments of testing and keep us from the evil one.
For the kingdom is his, and the power is his, and the glory is his, forever.
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