THE PRAYER: Part 7 “For Yours is the Kingdom…”

We have reached the end of our Series on the Lord’s Prayer. It’s my hope that you have grown in your relationship with God as we’ve looked at how Jesus taught us to pray. The often quoted prayer ends with a declaration of praise much like the closing doxology in the book of Jude. Oddly enough, the final stanza of the Lord’s Prayer that we know so well isn’t actually found in the original manuscripts. The ending was added later by a scribe, which is why some modern translations omit this portion. When reading the prayer the way it was originally recorded, it makes the flow of the following verse more fitting. Here Jesus drives home once again the importance of forgiving others to be forgiven. That being said nearly every scholar agrees there is nothing theologically incorrect about the stanza, and that it is a very appropriate closing to our daily prayers.

The Lord’s prayer, as we know it, concludes like this:

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever, Amen.”

This addition to the prayer is likely a reference to the prayer of David at the climax of his reign:

Yours O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand, it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 (ESV, emphasis added to show where the Lord’s Prayer addition took its inspiration.)

In this lengthier song of praise, David is doing what we should do at the close of our prayers; we should cycle back around to where our prayer began. We should be offering worship to the only one to whom worship is actually due. Who else posses the power to make someone great or to make the weak strong? Who else possesses the authority to heal the sick, to bless the oppressed, or to provide for the needy? Who else can provide our daily bread, grant us forgiveness for our trespasses, and give us the strength to forgive those who have done us wrong? Who else can lead us away from our temptation, and who has the power to undo what sin has wrecked and finally defeat evil once and for all? There is only One.

Once we’ve made all of our petitions known to God, then we lean on His strength to bring to completion what we need done. What we’ve begun in the spirit through prayer can’t be completed in our flesh; we have to rely on God. So, what is left for us to do? Worship God. We should give Him His rightful place in our lives and in our hearts. Just as Jesus taught us to begin with directing our eyes towards God and away from ourselves, the closing of the prayer again seeks to draw our attention away from our most dire needs and point our affections to God. This is one final line of defense against our pride, as we close our prayer we are once again elevating God to His proper place.

When we pray “Yours is the kingdom,” we are saying, “God I am giving you control of who I am. There is no earthly authority either human or spiritual that has my allegiance, only You.” When we pray, “Yours is the power,” we are saying, “I have no strength within myself to keep trying to do life on my own. I’ve tried and I’ve failed, I need You to do for me what I could never do without You.” Finally when we pray, “Yours is the glory,” we are saying, “God you get the credit for everything, even my accomplishments are only capable because of what You have done for me. I’m bowing before You because without You I am nothing.” Then we wrap up our prayer with the reminder that these declarations weren’t just true when Jesus walked the Earth, they weren’t just true at Creation, but that our God is:

“…the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)

Amen.

Grace and peace to you.

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