Day Seven: The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory
Many people are accustomed to closing the Lord’s Prayer with, ‘For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever’. Yet, these words are not located in either Matthew or Luke’s Gospel. Rather, this phrase can be found in the first-century text known as ‘The Didache’, or ‘The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’. However, even if the ‘kingdom, and power and glory’ do not go back to Jesus himself, they were seen by many in the early church as a natural way to conclude the prayer. Today, as we prioritize Jesus-shaped visions of power and glory, we are getting to the heart of the Lord’s Prayer for his Kingdom on earth as in heaven, now and forever.
In Jesus’ day, ‘kingdom, power, and glory’ would have made people think of the imperial center of power, Rome, and Caesar ruling in absolute power. What comes to your mind when you hear this phrase?
When the early church prayed for the coming of God’s kingdom, they were praying that God would show himself in power and glory. They were praying that Jesus would be seen and acknowledged as the true Lord of the world over against worldly rulers and human governments, which was (and is) quite counter-cultural!
Prayerfully considering God’s purposes in Christ for the hungry, oppressed, and marginalized in the world is an important way that Jesus’ followers might make his Kingdom their top priority today. When Jesus speaks to his disciples in Mark 10:42-43, he warns them that human rulers bent towards worldly power and glory become arrogant and self-centered. Jesus declared that he and his followers were going to ‘do power’ a different way: the ‘Servant-way’. This is most clearly symbolized by the Son of Man coming to give his life as a ransom for many (v 45).
This redefinition of kingdom, power, and glory is woven into the story of Jesus throughout the Gospels. As we pray, we are invoking his Spirit-filled power to defeat injustice, corruption, and evil in the world. We pray with confident hope as we call upon God’s power to block what is threatening us and his purposes in the world.
As we seek His Kingdom and priorities first, we affirm that we want to be part of power done differently. Thus, as we close the Lord’s Prayer with the familiar words of ‘kingdom, power, and glory’, we are claiming Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords above all else. We are praying for God to be with us, for Christ to rule and to be active in his world, and to bring this prayer into reality on earth as it is in heaven. Like the Psalmist, we come to our Father and ask him to sort out our troubles, to come to our aid, and to let his Kingdom-power come to us both now and forever.
Question to consider:
We should think of praying the Lord’s Prayer as a whole life activity. How is praying for his ‘kingdom, power, and glory’ a way of claiming his victory over the darkness?
Living it out:
Identify where you see worldly powers set against the Kingdom-way in your specific context today. Practice responding with ‘power done a different way’ by resisting a similar response. What does the ‘Servant-way’ look like for you today?
May you have a peaceful Shabat.