For Thine Is
Yours, 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, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
1 Chronicles 29:11
As we draw near to the end of our series on the Lord’s Prayer, we come across the closing doxology: “For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, now and forever.” When you look it up in the Bible, you may or may not find it depending on your translation. The King James Version (KJV) has it as does the New American Standard Bible (although the NASB puts this closing phrase in brackets). However, the New International Version (NIV) and the English Standard Version (ESV) do not. Why the difference? Is it really part of the prayer? Should we be saying it or not?
The debate comes from the relatively recent discovery of old manuscripts than what were used to first translate the Bible, at least into English. These earlier manuscripts omit this last phrase completely. Previously, many of the oldest manuscripts available to do translation work from did include this phrase but as a note in the margin rather than within the body of the text. The tradition of the Jewish faith, and therefore the early church, was to always end one’s prayer with a doxology along the lines of this last phrase. So it isn’t surprising that a note was added to the earliest of margins of early manuscripts when using this prayer in worship to add this last line. Without it, the prayer would have felt incomplete to the early church worshippers.
So should be reciting this final line of the Lord’s Prayer? The reality is that, for all the scholarly debate and nuances, it really comes down to tradition and preference. The prayer is complete without it as this last line reinforces what has already been said. God’s Kingdom, Power, and Glory have all already been covered in the first part of the prayer. But these are also good things to be reminded of when praying. This last statement does serve as a powerful reminder that, no matter what our selfish desires might be, everything ultimately is about God and subject to his authority. Because of this, we’ll dive into this phrase a bit as we have the rest of the Lord’s Prayer and see what wisdom these words might have for us today.
This final phrase in the Lord’s Prayer emphasizes 3 main symbols of the Christian faith:
1. The Kingdom of God
2. The Power of God
3. The Glory of God
It is a shortened version of David’s praise found in 1 Chronicles 29:11 and likely used in Jewish and early Christian worship on a regular basis. This phrase, or something rather similar, would have been so commonplace to those who worshiped God 2000 years ago that they wouldn’t have given it a second thought. It would have been like many congregations who respond “Thanks be to God” after the Gospel has been read and the reader has proclaimed “The Word of the Lord.” It is so common we often don’t realize we are doing it. And, honestly, it’s kind of fun to get in front of a group of church goers outside of church and proclaim “The Word of the Lord!” and see how many respond with, “Thanks be to God!” Try it sometime.
Ending prayer by praising God in such a manner as this reminds us that our primary focus in all prayer should always be God. This ending specifically reminds us that God both possess and presides over His Kingdom. It reminds us that THE power belongs to Him, not just some power or the power we are willing to give Him. It reminds us that ALL glory belongs to God and God alone. And these truths will be forever because God is eternal meaning God is beyond and outside of time.
For many of us, myself included, it is so easy to get focused on ourselves during prayer, isn’t it? We pray for the people we like and care about so much more easily than we pray for the ones we dislike or disagree with. We seek answers to the trials, troubles, and confusions in our lives. We wonder why God hasn’t done what we wanted Him to do when we wanted it done. We question his wisdom and wonder if He hears us. It’s easy to just end as we struggle to understand how God is working in our lives, only seeing what is right in front of us for this moment rather than refocusing on the truth of who God is and the bigger picture He sees. And that is just what these words do.
- Within a couple of weeks of this being posted, American citizens will go to the polls for the 2020 election. It seems the presidential race is something people are passionate about going so far as to judge another person’s faith, character, and morality based only on who they vote for. Take today and really pray for the candidate you are least likely to vote for in the major races in your area. Pray that God would be present in their lives for no other reason than them being able to experience the peace, grace, and presence of God. How easy or hard is it for you? How does it change how you think or talk about them as a person? Does it make you more or less willing to give them the benefit of the doubt?
- This week, each time you spend time in prayer, challenge yourself to end with a proclamation of who God is. How does it put your prayers in perspective? Does it make you more or less confident in God hearing your prayer?
- Want to dig a little deeper into the origins of this particular part of the Lord’s Prayer? Click HERE to read more.