PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• At the end of every fairy tale is “The end.”
And at the end of every prayer is an “Amen.”
But what does it mean?
Why do we say it?
The word is ancient, dating back to the days of Moses when he taught the Israelites to use it to reply in agreement to the 12 curses of transgressions (Deuteronomy 27:15-26).
It’s a word used frequently throughout Scripture—both the Old and New Testaments and frequently spoken by Jesus Himself.
It’s a word of affirmation, and it means “truly, surely, let it be so.”
The Hebrew etymology of it connects it to the Hebrew words for trust, trustworthiness, and steadiness…
All attributes of God the Father.
In 2 Corinthians 1:20 Paul wrote, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
This verse boasts about the trustworthiness of God.
He is deserving of all our praise for countless reasons that include His faithfulness and dependability to keep His promises.
So we affirm that truth with a resounding, “Amen!”
The history of the word “amen” is quite interesting but it’s also complicated.
Since I am not a theologian, I’m not going to try to go any deeper with it than what’s already been presented.
But I want to talk about our modern-day usage of it.
We still use it as a form of agreement in casual conversation.
For example, “That’s the best coffee I’ve ever had!” to which you might reply, “Amen!”
That, of course, implies agreement that the coffee is the best.
But more often than naught, we use it at the end of a prayer.
I’m speculating here, but for most of us, does “Amen” represent more of a “the end,” than it does an affirmation of everything we just prayed about or the holiness of God?
It does for me… I haven’t given a lot of thought to what it meant before I read into it.
To me, it was just a word that signified that a prayer was finished.
We wrap up a conversation with God with an “Amen,” and we go on our way.
Does that seem strange to you?
The more I think about it, it’s weird how we do that.
I say that because we’re encouraged to pray constantly (Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2) and if we pray constantly, why would we end the conversation with God?
Sure, we can pick up again anytime.
It’s not like we run the risk of getting a busy signal if we hang up our Heavenly calls and call back when we remember something else we wanted to say.
But I don’t end my conversations with my earthly friends that way.
Often it’s more of a “talk to you later,” or we fizzle out for a short time to re-engage later.
I don’t feel the need to state “This is the end of our conversation,” and if I did, I’m pretty sure the other person would be waiting for the phone or door to slam since that sounds kind of angry.
If we’re going to say, “amen,” let’s fully understand it.
In all my reading of the history, I haven’t gotten the impression that it was ever used to signify an end.
It’s about agreement.
So when you finish your prayers, instead of thinking, “I’m done,” let “amen” represent what it should—an affirmation of any praise you gave to God and an acknowledgment of the truth of His goodness.
Truly, surely, let it be so.
Today, as you pray, thank God for being the Amen (Isaiah 65:16 and Revelation 3:14)…for being the very Truth that our faith is built on.
Acknowledge in complete agreement that His word is trustworthy and ask Him to help you pray constantly, using your Amens as sacred affirmations of all He’s done for you and all you’ve asked from Him.