For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever.
If you have been looking at Matthew’s version of this prayer you will have noticed that he does not include this final passage, but I hope you will permit me to complete this run through the Lord’s Prayer.
I mentioned about the three different reasons for forgiveness the other day. Right at the end there is another difference in that our Anglican friends double up the final phrase saying Forever and ever. In one of my former churches there was a very faithful member who had spent a large part of his life based in London, although he came from Fraserburgh and retired to Peebles, but every time we recited the Prayer you could guarantee after everyone had time to say Amen Tom’s voice would be booming out the additional ‘and ever’, In fact the congregation would normally wait for Tom to catch up before saying Amen.
We too now finish the Lord’s or Disciples Prayer.
We started by giving God his place in Heaven above us all with his holy and hallowed name, we prayed for his kingdom of love and peace to come, we acknowledged that his will was of far more import than our own, we asked that we be given sufficient for the day to see us through, we begged for forgiveness whilst admitting that we must also forgive others, knowing our human frailty we then asked God to keep us from falling into sin and to protect us in the times of testing by the forces of evil.
Now we come to the finale where we acknowledge that God is greater than anything that can be imagined, and he has complete power throughout the universe and we can do no better than offer him all the glory and praise we can muster.
All the previous petitions would be meaningless unless God is indeed all powerful and worthy of all glory. For if were not he would be unable to do any of the things we have asked.
Let me finish with a true story regarding the power of the Lord’s prayer.
As the Chindits were fighting their way through the Burmese jungle towards the end of World War Two a platoon had been sent off up before the main company to see what if any enemy troops were ahead of them. Hacking their way through thick growth they came under sporadic fire now and again and during one of these exchanges a young soldier became separated from his colleagues. Lost in the jungle he wandered around for hours trying to find his way back to his company without success but occasionally hearing the sound of a Japanese patrol.
Near nightfall, lost, alone, hungry and afraid he stumbled into a clearing and to his horror saw that there were four Japanese soldiers already there, they had heard him coming and their rifles were aimed at him. Knowing there was no point resisting and accepting his life was over the young squaddie sank to his knees, dropped his own rifle and closed his eyes wondering if he would hear the shot before feeling the bullet that was about to kill him. He started to say the Lord’s Prayer out loud, and was surprised that no bullet came his way but as he opened his eyes he saw the four enemy with their heads bowed reciting something together in Japanese. As he finished they finished and looked at him and smiled, one of them reached into his battle dress and pulled out a Bible. He could not speak Japanese and they could not speak English but all five were Christians, the Japanese had recognised the cadence of the Lord’s Prayer and joined in saying it with him..
They shared some of their rations and water with him and (having disarmed him) pointed the British soldier back in the direction of his comrades who actually were not far away.
The power of a prayer in a foreign language saved his life that day and he returned to Britain to lead a full and active life, what happened to the Japanese men? No one knows
Is it any wonder we offer to God who has the power make friends of mortal enemies all the glory forever?
Let us never forget that power for it is by that he guides and saves us all.
Lord God our loving Father in Heaven, when we pray may we acknowledge that we come to you because we need you not just now as we emerge from lockdown to a dawn of normality, but each and every day. We thank you that you have brought us thus far and look forward to leading us through whatever trial and triumphs lie ahead.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,