The one who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
Sometimes in church, you may hear someone shout, or more often mutter, "Amen." It means “so be it”, and it’s a Biblical way of saying, "This is true." When we end the prayer with “Amen,” it’s not only a great moment when we signal our assent to the Lord’s Prayer, but it’s also a final affirmation that this is true. Here is truth, but it’s not just a set of propositions to which we assent, but a spoken embodiment of the truth that we see in Jesus.
In a prison camp in World War Il, on a cold, dark evening after a series of beatings, after the hundreds of prisoners had been marched before the camp commander and harangued for an hour, when the prisoners were returned to their barracks and told to be quiet for the rest of the night, someone, somewhere in one of the barracks began saying the Lord’s Prayer. Some of his fellow prisoners lying next to him began to pray with him. Their prayer was overheard by prisoners in the next building who joined them. One by one, each set of barracks joined in the prayer until, as the prayer was ending with, ”Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory," hundreds of prisoners had joined their voices in a strong, growing, defiant prayer, reaching a thunderous, “Amen!" And then the camp was silent, but not before a new world had been sighted, signalled, and stated.
Wherever, since the day that Jesus taught us, this prayer has been prayed, even in the darkest of days, the worst of situations, prisoners have been set free, the blind see, the lame walk, the poor have good news proclaimed to them, and a new world, not otherwise available to us, has been constituted. In teaching us to pray, Jesus is making us more truthful, more faithful. Jesus is making us his disciples. In praying, our lives are being bent away from their natural inclinations, and towards God.
The Rev’d Michael Hopkins is Minister of the Spire Church, Farnham, Elstead URC, and serves as Clerk of the General Assembly.