Amen

Matthew 6:13
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Sometimes, long after a word comes into a language and its original meaning has been forgotten, it continues to be used extensively. For example, take the word “okay.” We use it all the time as a synonym for “alright” or “adequate” or even “yes,” but does anyone know what it really means? We understand that it can also be written “OK” – understanding, of course, that we’re not talking about the abbreviation for the state of Oklahoma. But what do the letters “O.K.” stand for? According to those who research such things, “OK” is a comical abbreviation of “all correct” and it was first used in the 1830’s here in America. By the 1840’s, “OK” was so widely in use that everyone seemed to understand what it meant. Today, nearly every American (and quite a few foreign-language speakers) use the word “okay” every day. Even though we may not understand the word’s origin, we still find okay ways to use it.

“Amen” is another word that has found its way into nearly every language on the earth. Of course, we have to look farther to find the origins of the word, and fortunately, we have one very large and well-recorded historical document that tells us how the word came into wide use: the Bible. “Amen” is a Hebrew word that means “truly” or “verily” and, according to Strong, it comes from a verb that means “to make firm” or “to prop.” We might then say that “amen” means “let it be established” or “let it be so.”

The first extensive use of “amen” is in the book of Deuteronomy, when Moses is reiterating the basics of the Law, and the people signal their assent to the covenant with “Amen.” (Deuteronomy 27:15-26) It pops up again at the end of David’s psalm of dedication after the Ark of the Covenant was first brought to Jerusalem.


1 Chronicles 16:34-36
34 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
35 And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation;
Gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
To triumph in Your praise.”
36 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!
And all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the LORD.

When Jesus pronounced the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), it was only natural to close with “Amen,” just as Moses and David and other prophets had done. Remembering that the Lord’s Prayer is a corporate prayer as well as a personal one, we can see why it would be expected that the people as a group would signal their agreement with it by saying “Amen.”

But do we say “amen” with any meaning like that today? When I hear people say it these days, it seems like they say it without any other intent other than to signal the ending of the prayer. It’s a way of saying, “Okay, God, I’m finished talking now.” And we let it go at that. “Amen” is more punctuation than agreement, more a period than a word. But look at how “amen” is used here:


Revelation 7:11-12
11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.”

Revelation 19:4
And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!”

Revelation 22:20
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

What is different here? Do you see it? In these passages describing John’s vision of the heavens and the last days, the elders and the angels say “Amen” BEFORE they worship God. They say “Amen” – “let it be so” – and THEN they say “Alleluia” – “Praise the LORD!” John says “Amen” after Jesus announces His return, and THEN John reiterates that He wants Jesus to return quickly. In these instances, “Amen” isn’t the end of a prayer, it is the beginning of a life focused on God in Christ.

So, when we come to the end of the Lord’s Prayer, and we say “Amen,” we are not to be thinking, “And that’s that.” When we say “Amen,” we are to begin living our lives as described in the prayer.

• Our Father in heaven… Let it always be so.

• Hallowed be Your name… Let Your name be hallowed in our hearts.

• Your kingdom come… Let it come now.

• Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven… Let Your will be done in our lives.

• Give us this day our daily bread… Let it be given to us today.

• And forgive us our debts… Let Your forgiveness come to us now.

• As we forgive our debtors… Let our lives be so lived in Your image.

• And do not lead us into temptation… Let us be led in Your righteous ways.

• But deliver us from the evil one… Let us be taken by Your grace.

• For Yours is the kingdom… Let Your reign be over all things.

• And the power… Let Your might be displayed in our lives.

• And the glory… Let me reflect Your glory and majesty.

• Forever… Let it be so from everlasting to everlasting.

• Amen… Let it be so!!

This is our Lord’s Prayer. Let it not end with a period but with an exclamation point! “Amen!” let us say, and let it mean, “We shall make it so in our lives.” Let us say “Amen” and then let us live with faith that all we have asked the Father certainly shall come to pass. Let us LIVE “Amen” every day, in sure and certain knowledge of our salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord. Can I get an “Amen”? Amen!!

Our Father in heaven, let Your will be so in our lives. Teach us to order our lives around Your will for us. Guide us, urge us, nurture us, and discipline us, so that we follow Your path to Your kingdom. Be glorified in our lives, Lord God. All praise and honor be Yours forever. Let it be so. Amen!

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About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and husband to a beautiful wife and the father of four lovely kids. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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