Home Page  My Blog  Books  Videos  Other Writings   Photography  My Church's Web Site  Bio Information   E-mail me
My novel
Kathryn's Fountain
 Now Available!

 Click HERE to go to
Kathryn's Fountain Home Page 

Now available to order online at
Cladach Publishing  Amazon  Books A Million Borders   Barnes & Noble
or at your favorite bookstore

“Unlocking the Treasures
of the Lord's Prayer”

Part :6
Taking the Grand View of Everything”
Based on 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 & The Lord's Prayer
Delivered on May 23 & 24, 2009
by David J. Claassen
Copyright 2009 by David J. Claassen

        Most of us try to do it, but it’s not easy for most of us.  I'm talking about praying.  It’s easy to call out a quick “Help me, Lord,” when we’re in desperate straits.  We don’t have much trouble blurting out “Bless Billy” or “Help Helen,” but prayer is often difficult when it comes to other things.
            It's easy to drift away from praying or to say the same prayer every time.  Effective, meaningful praying is a challenge, and that's why Jesus taught us to pray by giving us a model that we call the Lord's Prayer.  In this message we’ll conclude our six-part series on “Unlocking the Treasures of the Lord's Prayer” with a look at the grand, concluding statement of this famous prayer: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.”  I've titled this message “Taking the Grand View of Everything” because the last statement of the Lord's Prayer is a great expression of confidence that our Heavenly Father is in ultimate control over everything.

A Confident Conclusion
This last statement of the Lord's Prayer is often called the doxology because it's a wonderful statement of praise.  His is the kingdom, He has all power, and all glory belongs to Him.  My translation of this phrase is “You're in charge!  You can make it happen!  Wow!  And it's never going to end!”
            What's interesting about the ending of the Lord's Prayer is that there's a real question about whether Jesus actually included it in His prayer!  The Lord's Prayer is recorded for us in two of the four gospels: Matthew and Luke.  If you look at a modern translation, like the NIV we often use here at Mayfair-Plymouth, you'll see that it's not mentioned at all.  In Matthew's account it's missing from the text, but it appears in a footnote which explains that the phrase doesn’t appear in the oldest manuscripts.
            Our Bibles are translations of older versions that go all the way back to the original manuscripts written by the Bible's various human authors — in this case Matthew and Luke.  However, we don't have any of the original manuscripts.  What we have are later copies of a collection of various manuscripts.  The classic belief that has been held to by Christians through the centuries is that the original manuscripts of the various books of the Bible were inspired by God: He worked through the human authors, making them completely true and trustworthy.  We refer to this as the inerrancy of Scripture.  Scholars are always looking for older manuscripts that take them closer to the original written manuscripts, which are often called the autographs.
            This last part of the Lord's Prayer doesn't appear in the text of these oldest manuscripts.  The well-respected Haddon Robinson wrote, “Evidently, the doxology was not part of the prayer as Jesus originally gave it.  In fact, it appears for the first time in the second and third centuries. . . . While this doxology may not have been given directly by Jesus, it can claim broad biblical support.” (Jesus' Blueprint for Prayer, Haddon Robinson, Discovery House, p.26)
            Scholar N.T. Wright stated, ”This concluding doxology doesn't appear in the best manuscripts of either Matthew or Luke. . . . But it was already well established within a century or so of Jesus' day, and it is actually inconceivable, within the Jewish praying styles of His day, that Jesus would have intended the prayer to stop simply with 'deliver us from evil'.  Something like this must have been intended from the beginning.  In any case, it chimes in exactly with the message of the prayer as a whole: God's kingdom, God's power, and God's glory are what it's all about.” (The Lord & His Prayer, p.81)
            Whether or not it was part of Jesus' original prayer, the ideas are certainly in the Bible.  In fact, they appear almost word for word in a prayer that the great king David prayed.  Looking at the situation when he prayed similar words a thousand years before Jesus did can help us to unlock the treasures of these upbeat words for our own lives. 

King David's Prayer and Ours
One of the most familiar situations we all experience is being in between: some things have moved along the way we want them to, but there hasn’t been any kind of satisfactory completion.  It's a time when we can vacillate and when we might be tempted to give up.  We might want to ask, “Is God really with me in this situation?”  We wonder whether God's really paying attention, and whether or not He's still at work.  It's not pleasant to be in the middle of something that doesn't seem to have guaranteed results.  (Come to think of it, most of life's that way!)  The endings of the Lord's Prayer and King David's prayer are models of how to pray confidently when we’re in that predicament.
            King David found himself in such a situation.  He had been a great military leader and king, but one of his biggest dreams — building a worship center, or temple, for God — wasn't unfolding the way he had wanted it to.  David gathered all of the leaders of his country, great and small.  At that summit he said to the large crowd, “Listen to me, my brothers and my people.  I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it.  But God said to me, 'You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.'” (1 Chronicles 28:2-3)
            David wasn't meant to build a temple for God; his son Solomon would do that.  David had such a passion for seeing the temple built that he got everything ready for the time after he was dead and gone, when his son Solomon would be able to build it.
            First David worked on the details of the plan.  He said, “I have written from the hand of the Lord upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.” (1 Chronicles 28:19)
            Second, David organized the workforce to do the construction: “The divisions of the priests and Levites are ready for all the work of the
temple of God, and every willing man skilled in any craft will help you in all the work.” (1 Chronicles 28:21)
            Third, David gathered the provisions: the construction materials.  “With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God – gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble – all of these in large quantities.” (1 Chronicles 29:2)
            He had the plan, the people, the provisions, and now he gave the prayer!  Part of his prayer is echoed in the last doxological phrase of the Lord's Prayer.  “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.  Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11)
            This prayer came from a man who could arguably be called the greatest leader the world has ever seen.  (What king or president would you consider greater than King David?)  Yet he couldn't seem to pile up enough words to express His praise and confidence in God!  He wasn’t proclaiming his own greatness, power, glory, majesty, and splendor or claiming that all belonged to him.  It all belongs to God!  His confidence was in God, and that's what he prayed.
            We also need to pray words that express confidence in God.  We spend a lot of  time focusing on what we need from God; our prayers can become very negative!  We need to spend some time affirming that God is ultimately in charge of everything (“. . . for thine is the kingdom . . .”), that He has all power (“. . . and the power . . .”), that the credit will go to Him, not to us (. . . and the glory . . .”), and that this is true forever (. . . forever.”)
            I can testify to the value of spending some prayer time telling God that I know that He's ultimately in charge, He can make it happen, He’s deserving of all the credit, and that in the final analysis He will have His perfect way (a loose interpretation of the last phrase of the Lord's Prayer).  Let me repeat my translation of these last words of the Lord's Prayer: “You're in charge!  You can make it happen!  Wow!  And it's never going to end!”  If we regularly include something like that in our prayers, we'll have a new confidence in our praying! 

Unlock the Treasures of the Lord's Prayer
So we conclude our study of the Lord's Prayer.  We often repeat it as a memorized prayer, but it’s much more!  It's a model of a prayer — a pattern, a blueprint, a template — that we can use as a guide for how we should pray.
Let's summarize it one last time.  This is what should be included in our times of prayer on a regular basis.
"Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name . . ."  Exclaiming how awesome God is, so above and beyond us, yet He wants to be called "Father" because He’s also near and approachable.
"Thy kingdom come, they will be done in earth as it is in heaven . . ."  Affirming our openness to His purposes being carried out in our lives.
"Give us this day our daily bread . . ."  Requesting that God supply what we need each day, knowing that He won't always give us all we want.
    "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors . . ."  Acknowledging our need for His forgiveness while recognizing that we’re supposed to be forgiving of others.
    "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil . . ."  Asking Him for the strength to resist temptation and the power to overcome the evil in our lives.
"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen."` Praising the Heavenly Father for His ultimate, complete control over everything that we'll enjoy for eternity!
            What affects me about praying a prayer like the Lord's Prayer is that it's meant to be life-changing for me!  Prayer, it turns out, isn’t about changing God's mind or primarily about changing circumstances.  Prayer is supposed to change me!  When I pray the way I should pray, I find that I'm placing myself in a position where I can align my attitudes, feelings, thoughts, passions, and commitments with God's best for me.  Prayer allows me to better see things from God's perspective, to see how He can help me live from that perspective, and to see how He can use me where He's placed me.  This all happens because the main result of prayer is that I’m spending time with God, who’s my Heavenly Father!     

My Photo of the Week