We are down to the last sentence of the “Lord’s Prayer”.
“For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory, Amen.”
Matthew 6:9-13, does not include this sentence. Why, then, did many of us, particularly Protestants, add this sentence? To find an answer, I did some research on Google and found this quote from Father William Saunders, president of the Notre Dame Catechetical Institute and associate pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish, both in Alexandria, VA. I thought his information was interesting and added some background for my reflection. I have quoted just two paragraphs below. Once you have read that excerpt, I hope you will spend some time thinking about my reflection.
“The “For thine…” is technically termed a doxology. In the Bible we find the practice of concluding prayers with a short, hymn-like verse which exalts the glory of God. An example similar to the doxology in question is found in David’s prayer located in 1Chronicles 29:10-13. The Jews frequently used these doxologies to conclude prayers at the time of Our Lord.”
“In the early Church, the Christians living in the eastern half of the Roman Empire added the doxology “for thine…” to the Gospel text of the Our Father when reciting the prayer at Mass. Evidence of this practice is also found in the “Didache” (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), a first century manual of morals, worship and doctrine of the Church. Also, when copying the Scriptures, Greek scribes sometimes appended the doxology onto the original Gospel text of the Our Father, however, most texts today would omit this inclusion, relegate it to a footnote, or note that it was a later addition to the Gospel.”
Even though we are aware of its history, this sentence is definitely a part of the Lord’s Prayer in the United Church. Therefore it is important to think about what it means to us as individuals to add that sentence. Here are my thoughts.
This last sentence denotes complete submission. I am saying, “This is your world, God, all of it. It’s your realm. You created it. You’re in charge. You have all the power, God. I can try to control my life. I know you call me to do my absolute best and leave the rest to you. You have the final say. This is my truth and will be forever and ever. So be it.”
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had done his very best for three years to share God’s message of endless, unconditional love and forgiveness. At that very moment of prayer, he said to God, “If you will let this cup pass from me…” He followed it with, “not my will, but yours be done.” To me, this is utter and total submission, so I try to follow it in my life. I do my best in my living. I teach, encourage, affirm, challenge others. I love, laugh, cry, and live, but in the end, it’s your realm, God, your kingdom, your power that prevails and always will. I try my best to say with truth from the depths of my soul, “Not my will but thine be done.”
And so to me, that last sentence, that doxology, is a very important part of the Lord’s Prayer.