Saturday, April 11, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 46: The Amen

"Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 'Give us this day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [ For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.' ] (Matthew 6:9-13 NASB

Our topic today is Amen, and I hope it will prove as surprising and inspiring for you as it has for me. The word "amen" was transliterated directly from Hebrew to Greek and has been transliterated into every subsequent language. As a result, it is a kind of "universal word", the same in every language. It is closely related to the Hebrew word "aman", meaning faithful or sure. 


When amen is used at the end of a statement, it means "so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled." The BLB explains, "It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded Amen (so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled) and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own."

The "amen" spoken at the end of my prayer is a way of saying that I believe God is faithful and that I believe He will do what I have asked of Him. When I ask God for my daily bread, my "amen" says that I believe God can and will provide that daily bread. When I ask that God will deliver me from the schemes of the evil one and help me avoid temptation, my "amen" tells Him that I believe He will be faithful to do that very thing.

When I pray with my friend, my "amen" at the end of her prayer tells God that I agree with her, that I am saying "so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled." It's a word that communicates my agreement. "Yes! Lord, I agree with everything that's been said and I believe you can do it all!"

We sang a song in choir recently that plays in my head quite a bit. (You do know what that's like, right?) It's "Because He Lives" by Ed Cash, Bill Gaither, Chris Tomlin, Jason Ingram, Carson Daniel, Gloria Gaither, and Matt Maher. It has lots of "amen's" but it was only today that I understood the power in it. The song is a declaration of belief and the "amen's" are an affirmation of my faith in that declaration. I've included part of the lyrics here.

I believe in the son
I believe in the risen one
I believe I overcome
By the power of his blood


Amen, Amen
I'm alive, I'm alive, Because He lives.
Amen, Amen

Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives


I was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away


Amen, Amen
I'm alive, I'm alive, Because He lives.
Amen, Amen

Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives


Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
Every fear is gone
I know He holds my life my future in His hands


Amen, Amen
I'm alive, I'm alive, Because He lives.
Amen, Amen

Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives


It's a beautiful song, with wonderful lyrics. Read those words through again and use them today as a declaration of faith, then join with me in adding an "amen". So it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled. I'm declaring it because I believe it. That's what our amen means!

(If you want to hear this song, the link to our Easter service is here:http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/60774073. The song begins at 57:47. Hope you enjoy!)