“This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’"
There is a great deal of controversy about the final phrase of the Lord's Prayer. The KJV includes it, the NASB puts it in brackets, but almost all other English Bible versions either leave it out or put it in a footnote. Why? Because many of the ancient Greek texts do not include the words . . . for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever;” in fact the earliest ones do not. That later copies do would seem to indicate that, for some reason, this closing phrase was added. Also, discussion of it is totally absent in the earliest Christian commentary and teachings on Matt. 13; it doesn't appear until the 3rd or 4th Century. So why, you might ask, is this phrase so routinely included in recitations of the Lord's Prayer? I think there are two reasons.
First, it is a traditional and normal way to end a prayer. Such doxologies* are nearly always used to conclude Jewish prayers and would have been considered, not only appropriate, but necessary to the earliest believers. On the other hand, even today it seems awkward and incomplete to end the prayer with the word "evil." Also, consider the fact that we have just asked God to give us our daily bread, forgive our debts, and protect us from evil. What makes us think He can fulfill those requests? How about: because He has all authority and ability and majesty. And that is basically what the closing statement says.
Secondly, the closing doxology is thoroughly biblical. Even if it isn't part of Jesus' model prayer, it IS part of what the Bible teaches us about God the Father. God is the glorious and powerful and eternal King. He is referred to as the Sovereign Lord 288 times in Scripture. He is called by the name God Almighty 39 times. And the glory of the LORD is referred to directly 35 times. Also, compare this doxology with that of David in 1 Chron. 29:10-13: "Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."
So how about it, can I get an Amen?
--- Pastor Keith Andrews
*A doxology is a verse or song of praise to God.