Read His Words Before Ours!
“For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory…”
Loves, will you receive some truth in grace today? (Deep breath, here we go.)
Truth? When I received this writing assignment for Prayer, I was not super thrilled.
I know what you’re probably thinking. Prayer should be as natural as breathing when we are in Christ. I agree. In fact, it is through this daily, constant conversation with our Father that breathes His new life into and through us.
I believe that to be wholly, wonderfully, irrevocably true…
but this particular topic in our Prayer series made me squirm.
The thing is, there is some controversy around that last line in “The Lord’s Prayer.” This might be the first time you’ve heard this, or perhaps you are already nodding in agreement with my remark. Like many of you, I committed those words above to memory along with the rest of the lines at an early age…so you can imagine my surprise as an adult when I first discovered that the line was not actually a part of the earliest original Biblical manuscripts. (Can I get a WHAT?)
While the phrase does still exist in a few versions of the Bible (King James, New King James and Holman Christian Standard – all with annotation that the latter part of verse 13 differs from other versions), it has been omitted from most other translations because that final doxology was likely not a part of Jesus’ actual verbal instruction to the disciples regarding how we should pray. (If you’re anything like me and this is news to you, you may commence squirming now. I’m with you. It’s okay. Stay with me and we’ll work through this together.)
This may present a bit of a conundrum for us as believers, at first thought. We say we believe His Word is living and active, that His instruction is inerrant.
We believe His Word is true, transcribed by divinely inspired human hands.
That through Scripture, He speaks to and moves in us to bring about conviction, transformation and renewal in our hearts and minds.
But wait, here’s a heaping dish of contradiction for you: That last line of the Lord’s Prayer you’ve known and quoted all your life? Well, they are not actually the words of Jesus.
While all of this is true and may reflect our first feelings about the matter, it’s vitally important that we unpack the how and why this phrase was added to Scripture. Only then will we understand that while the words may not have been part of Christ’s verbal instruction for how we should pray, they are still a reasonable addition to our prayer model that lines up with other Scriptural truth and can be applied in our prayer life today.
In the gospels, we find that there are two instances in which Jesus tells His disciples how to pray: once in the book of Matthew, and once in Luke. Upon examination we can see several differences. From this we can infer that He was not giving them, or us, a prayer we should pray verbatim, but rather a form to follow and personalize.
(Thank you, Jesus, for being a personal God!)
He never intended for us to pray through the Lord’s Prayer every day by recitation.
No! Instead, He was conveying that in our conversations with Father God, we should emulate His example by expressing adoration, confessing our sins, and giving thanks before making our supplications.
At that time, it was common practice for Christians present during public prayer times to respond verbally together. Much in the same way that we might nod in agreement or add an enthusiastic “amen” during our pastor’s moving prayer, they would respond individually (but in a group) at certain points. It was in this type of forum that the phrase “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory” was commonly used. The assertion was a passionate proclamation – of God’s kingdom being ushered into the earth through Jesus, His supernatural power and all-encompassing glory. The phrase was so well accepted, that it was actually scribbled onto the margin of the Scriptural text…and eventually transcribed as part of the original text.
While we now know that the final proclamation of the Lord’s Prayer wasn’t uttered from Jesus’ actual lips, we can be confident that expressing our adoration for God through our prayers is exactly in line with His word. The practice of making prayer “our own” – individually and corporately – is fulfilling exactly what Christ modeled for us in instruction and action!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!