Everyone is familiar with the word amen. But have you ever taken the time to consider what it really means? Is ending our prayers with amen a mere ritual? Or is there a majestic richness to the word that we often miss?
First, amen is a universally recognized word that is far more significant than simply signing off or saying, “That’s all.” With the word amen we are in effect saying, “May it be so in accordance with the will of God.” It is a marvelous reminder that prayer is a means of bringing us into conformity with God’s will, not a magic mantra that ensures God’s conformity to ours.
Furthermore, the word amen is a direct reference to Jesus, who taught us to pray “your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). In Revelation, Jesus is referred to as the “Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation” (3:14). Also, Jesus not only taught us to pray, “Your will be done,” but He modeled those words in His life. In His passionate prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
Finally, although Jesus is our greatest example, He is certainly not our only example of submitting to God’s will. His brother James warned those who are prone to “boast and brag” that they ought to pray instead, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15). Christ’s closest friend during His earthly ministry, the apostle John, echoed the words of the Master when he wrote, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
Next time you end your prayer with the word amen, it is my prayer that you will remember that far from being a formality, this way of closing a prayer is fraught with meaning. Not only is amen a direct reference to the Savior, but it is a reminder that even the seemingly insignificant details of our lives are under the Savior’s sovereign control.
Adapted from The Prayer of Jesus
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him,
that if we ask anything according to His will,
He hears us. And if we know that He hears
us, whatever we ask, we know that we have
the petitions that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14–15 NKJV
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The Prayer of Jesus: Secrets to Real Intimacy with God (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2001).
***Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***