At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matt. 6:9-13).
We customarily conclude our prayers with the word amen, and this is a practice we learned from the Scriptures. Jesus includes it here, and so we should consider the significance of it.
The word is probably the most universally recognized word in the world, as well as being the most universally used word. This is because it is largely transliterated into all the languages where it comes, and not translated. In other words, the word for amen in English is amen, and the same goes for Greek, and Latin, and so on.
The word is not simply a signal that we are done now, or that we may reach for the pancakes. God identifies Himself closely with this word. Speaking of our day, the time of the new covenant, Isaiah says that those who bless themselves will do so in the God of truth (lit. God of Amen), and those who swear will do the same thing, swearing by the God of Amen (Is. 65:16). In the Revelation, John the apostle records the message to the church of the Laodiceans, “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God . . .” (Rev. 3:14). “And all the promises of God in Christ are Yes, and in Him Amen” (2 Cor. 1:20).
In scriptural usage, there are three basic usages for the word.
First, it had the force of an oath. It is a word that solemnizes covenant obligations. We see this in the law of a woman with a jealous husband (Num. 5:22). We have a chapter full of it in Deuteronomy 27. Nehemiah’s confrontation of the Jewish leaders who were oppressing their people concluded with amen (Neh. 5:13). So this word has the force of an oath, and is much stronger than simply saying yes, I agree I guess.
Amen is also used as a benediction, or blessing. We see this in multiple places, where the word is a capstone on a blessing (Gal. 6:18; Phil 4:23; 2 Tim. 4:22; Rev. 22:21). When a blessing is given, an appropriate seal to it is amen.
The third use is the doxological use. We are given the privilege of blessing God, and amen is a fitting period to such praise (Rom. 1:25; 9:5; Eph. 3:21; 2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:21; 1 Pet. 5:11).
With the Lord’s Prayer, a moments reflection should show that all three elements are involved. We are transacting business with God (covenantal), we are seeking His blessing, for ourselves and others (benediction), and the prayer concludes with ascribing power and glory to God forever (doxological).