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"For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves."

Praying the Saviour's Way (VIII)

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Hands Praying over Bible

by Timothy Cross

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen (Matthew 6:13).

The Lord’s Prayer – that is, the prayer which the Saviour taught His disciples to pray – traditionally concludes with a doxology of praise to God: ‘For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen’ (Matthew 6:13). Whether this doxology was part of the Saviour’s original teaching, or whether it was added by the later church is a matter of debate for textual critics of the biblical manuscripts. What cannot be denied is that the praise is biblical. Its sentiment runs like a golden thread throughout the whole Bible. In 1 Chronicles 29:10 ff., for example, we read how ‘David blessed the LORD in the presence of all ... and David said ... ‘Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and Thou art exalted as head above all.’’

The three-fold ascription of absolute ‘kingdom, power and glory’ to God here inculcates confidence in the pray-er. It is because our God’s kingdom, power and glory are what they are, that He is well able to answer our prayers. And it is because our God’s character is what it is, that He is very willing to answer our prayers. Hence we conclude our prayers with a confident ‘Amen!’ – ‘it shall most certainly and surely be so.’

The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer (which is For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever, Amen) teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise Him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory to Him. And in testimony of our desire and assurance to be heard, we say Amen (Shorter Catechism).

The Kingdom is God’s

God’s ‘kingdom’ refers to His absolute sovereignty and unrivalled majesty. His sovereignty is inextricable from His very Godhood. He can state: ‘I am God and there is no other’ (Isaiah 45:22). His is the supreme and ultimate authority. He is on the throne of the universe, ordering all things from the highest planet to the smallest sparrow for the blessing of His people and the glory of His name. ‘The LORD reigns, He is robed in majesty’ (Psalm 93:1). ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the almighty reigns’ (Revelation 19:6). The ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is thus reminding us that our Father is also our King. His is the total government. He is on the throne of the universe, yet His throne to us is a ‘throne of grace’ to which His children are privileged to have recourse and ‘draw near that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16).

Thou art coming to a King
Large petitions with thee bring
For His grace and power are such
None can ever ask too much.

The Power is God’s

‘Thine is the ...power ...’ Love without power is well meaning but ineffectual. Power without love is a fearsome brutality. The God of the Bible however is revealed to be a God Who is infinite in both love and power and amazingly exercises both for the blessing and benefit of His children. Prayer ‘taps in' to the power of God. The wonder is that He actually disposes His omnipotence for His children’s impotence. We are weak, but He is mighty. None of our difficulties are too great for Him. In prayer we must look to God alone, and lay our helplessness before our Father’s omnipotence. The prophet Jeremiah experienced many difficulties in his life and ministry. But Jeremiah knew that his difficulties were no problem to the All-mighty. He thus exclaimed ‘Ah Lord God! It is Thou Who hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thy outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for Thee!’ (Jeremiah 32:17).

How good is the God we adore
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend
His love is as great as His power
And knows neither measure nor end.

The Glory is God’s

‘Thine is ... the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.’ The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer could not be more fitting, for the goal of the universe is the glory of God – His manifest greatness. All is subservient to God’s greater glory. The goal of salvation is not our blessing – even though salvation is the highest blessing – but ‘the praise of His glory’ (Ephesians 1:14). Our chief end is ‘To glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever’ (Shorter Catechism). The purpose of prayer is to glorify God. ‘To God alone be the glory’ was one of the mottoes of our Reformed forefathers. ‘Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Thy name give glory’ (Psalm 115:1).

God’s ‘glory’ and His very God-ness are inextricable. The glory of God and the God of glory cannot be separated. What then do we mean when we talk about God’s glory? Words fail us, for it cannot be described. Groping for words though, we can say that God’s glory refers to His supreme splendour, unique power and unsurpassed greatness. The dictionary uses words such as ‘exalted renown, fame, resplendent majesty, radiance, beauty.’ Multiply these words by infinity, and we do not begin to approach the unparalleled glory of God. Human glory is relative and fleeting. God’s glory is absolute, intrinsic, un-derived and eternal. ‘I am the LORD, that is My Name; my glory I give to no other’ (Isaiah 42:8). ‘To Him be glory for ever. Amen’ (Romans 11:36).

When we pray with God’s glory in mind therefore – beginning by hallowing His Name, and ending ‘Thine is ... the glory’, our personal defects and defeats apart, we can say that we are PRAYING THE SAVIOUR’S WAY. With our lips and with our lives, it is both our bounden duty and blessed delight to ascribe glory to ‘the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, and dwells in unapproachable light ... To Him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen (1 Timothy 6:15,16). Soli Deo Gloria!

Timothy Cross


 Read previous chapters of Timothy Cross's Praying the Saviour's Way:

Chapter 1: Our Father Who Art in Heaven

Chapter 2: Hallowed Be Thy Name

Chapter 3: Thy Kingdom Come

Chapter 4: Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

Chapter 5: Give us this day our daily bread

Chapter 6: Forgive us our debts

Chapter 7: Lead us not into temptation

 

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Last Update: 2016-09-01 12:11