Summary: The closing section of the Lord's Prayer ... for yours is the kingdom etc ... is not from the NT. Yet, closing the prayer this way gives us a pattern to get us through life and death
Why Prayer Works
A sermon on 1 Chronicles 29:11
The Lord’s Prayer is used by Christians all around the world.
You may or may not know that the Lord’s Prayer is found in the Bible.
You also may or may not know that there are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer written in the Bible.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.]
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
When you compare them like that you can see that Luke’s version of the prayer is definitely shorter, about 50% shorter, than Matthew’s version. You can see that can’t you.
But do you notice anything else?
Where is the doxology?
You know the bit which talks about the kingdom and the power and the glory that we also say when we use the Lord’s prayer? Where is that?
The very early versions of the Lord’s prayer, both in Matthew and Luke, do not have the ending which so many people use today to finish the Lord’s Prayer. So where does it come from?
History is helpful here. There is a very old Christian writing called “The Didache” which was written in the second century. It talks about many aspects of the Christian life including containing the Lord’s prayer. And, in the Didache, you will find the doxology "for yours is the power and the glory forever".
Which makes a lot of sense. Because of the doxology was missing the prayer would end with a focus on "temptation" and "evil" – which does not seem to be such a suitable way to end such a great prayer.
So, from an historical point of view, we can be sure that a doxology was added very early – even though the words themselves are not from the mouth of Jesus. But just because it is early, that doesn’t mean it is Biblical.
Is the way that we say the Lord’s prayer, especially the way that we finish with the doxology, is that all in keeping with Scripture?
The answer to this question must be “yes”.
Let me show you 1 Chronicles 29:11.
Yours, O 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, O LORD, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all.
What is amazing about this verse is the context.
King David is still alive but old – he is about to hand over to Solomon his son.
David has been collecting the materials to build the temple and he is now encouraging the leaders of the nation to follow his example. Let’s read about it.
It is all about worshipping God.
It is all about reliance on God.
That is really important to see – because the addition of the doxology reminds us why prayer works.
This prayer works because we centre our focus on God, and not on ourselves.
The Lord’s prayer may be a relatively short prayer yet through it we have made many petitions from God.
We ask that His Name always be honoured and praised (first petition).
We ask God to rule over us and to keep His church strong (second petition).
We ask God to help us reject our will and obey His will (third petition).
We ask God to take care of all our physical needs (fourth petition).
We ask God to forgive us our sins and to grant us the grace to forgive others (fifth petition).
We ask God to grant us victory when faced with temptation and evil (sixth petition).
Four of the six petitions are about us. And it is ok to focus on us, because that is what Jesus taught us to do. But, ultimately, life is not about us – it is about God.
We start the prayer by honouring God.
We finish the prayer by giving glory to God.
We are in there, we are part of the story. But God is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. That is the pattern, the only pattern, that can get us through anything.
Let me read you a POEM, it is called DEATH.
each morning as I fixed our family's breakfast I would see them