All things are for the glory of God! This driving passion was the very heartbeat of the Lord Jesus Christ, the highest aim He sought, the loftiest goal He pursued. All things in life and ministry, He taught, are to be solely for the glory of God.
Nowhere is this God-centered focus more clearly evidenced than in what Christ taught regarding prayer. To this end, all intercession before the throne of God must begin and end with resounding praise to Him. The Alpha and Omega of prayer must be for the glory of God.
Unfortunately, prayer today has often devolved into a self-centered pursuit that is fueled by the fulfilling of one’s indulgences. This “prosperity gospel” has denigrated prayer into nothing more than a “name it and claim it” shopping excursion. In this abuse of privileged access, God’s glory is all too forgotten.
But as Jesus Christ taught His disciples, the primary focus of prayer is for one to be riveted upon the supreme glory of God. As our Lord gave instruction regarding how to pray, He was unequivocal in teaching us to ascribe all glory to God. Everything must yield to the glory of God! In Matthew 6:13, Jesus stated our prayers should conclude: “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (NKJV).
The above is quoted in the New King James Version, a translation based upon the Textus Receptus. In this passage, we encounter a textual problem, one that has been debated throughout the centuries. As such, many translations handle this portion of Scripture in varying ways. For example, the New American Standard Bible places these words in brackets. The English Standard Version and New International Version omit this part of the verse altogether. For our purposes, however, we will consider these concluding words to the Lord’s Prayer as a part of the biblical text.
This climactic doxology begins with a passionate declaration of God’s sovereignty. When a believer prays, Jesus said, he should conclude by affirming, “For Yours is the kingdom.” This robust pronouncement asserts that God both possesses and presides over His vast kingdom. He is the sovereign king, who exercises supreme authority and unrestricted dominion over an immense empire. Certainly, this reign includes both the realm of providence and the sphere of salvation. He commands all the affairs of mankind, even the intricate inner workings of the entire universe. From His throne above, God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11).
Further, Jesus taught His disciples that when they pray, they should declare that “the power” belongs to God. The definite article defines the infinite scope of His sovereignty. He possesses not a mere portion of some power, but the power. That is to say, He has all power in heaven and earth. All that God’s supreme will chooses to do, He has the omnipotence to execute it fully. Nothing can hinder the free exercise of His sovereign pleasure.
What is more, every prayer should climax with a vibrant declaration of God’s glory. Jesus said that our prayers should crescendo with this announcement that all glory belongs to God. Because the kingdom and the power belong to God, all glory rightfully belongs to Him.
The Bible speaks of God’s glory in two ways. His intrinsic glory is the revelation of all that God is. It is the sum total of all His divine perfections and holy attributes. There is nothing that man can do to add to the intrinsic glory of God. He is who He is. Additionally, there is God’s ascribed glory, which is the glory that is given to Him. This is the praise and honor due His name. Such glory is to be ascribed to Him alone.
Here, at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, we find Christ referencing ascribed glory. In direct response to His vast sovereignty and unlimited power, all glory must be rendered to Him. In essence, such a high theology produces a high doxology. It is only fitting that this God, who is so awesome, be adorned in prayer.
Fervent praise, Jesus said, should come to God “forever.” Because His kingdom and power is without end, so must our praise be without ceasing. Every moment of life must be filled with praise, both now and throughout all eternity.
Finally, Jesus taught His disciples to conclude their prayers with the sure attestation, “Amen.” This familiar word comes from a Hebrew root meaning to be firm and secure. “Amen” eventually came to mean: “It is immovably true.” Likewise, this should be our concluding response to God in prayer. Amen to all that we know to be true about God. Amen to His eternal kingdom. Amen to His sovereign will. Amen to His daily bread. Amen to His pardoning grace. Amen to His delivering power.
All prayer should build and rise to this lofty summit. We should conclude by fervently affirming that the kingdom, the power, and the glory belong exclusively to Him forever. Our only response must resoundingly be — Amen!
This article was originally published in © Tabletalk magazine.