Almost each prayer ends with this word. Every Christian uses it at least several times per day. It sounds almost the same in a whole lot of languages, which otherwise have nothing in common… And yet, it seems that this is the most misused word among believers today – amen…
The word Amen has a Hebrew origin and after it has entered Greek through the first century Church, today it is a part for almost every language. Generally speaking, Amen means a strong agreement with something, or a strong affirmation. It can also be translated as “verily”, “truly”, “let it be” or “so let it be.” The use of this word as a part of God’s worship dates back to the times of the Old Testament. This is where today’s Christian use is inherited from – its use in the Hebrew synagogues. Just as back then, today we say Amen at the end of prayers as a symbol of our affirmation thereof, as well as after we have accepted a blessing from an elder or another person, even outside of the context of the church gathering.
For many Christians, however, this small word has lost much of its meaning due to its almost automated daily usage. The question we ought to ask ourselves now is “Do we even think about what we mean by saying Amen, or do we just do it because it’s become a habit?”
In his letters, through his own experience, apostle Paul reveals to us the importance of the correct understanding of the word. And in order to understand the power of this affirmation at the end of prayers we need to listen carefully to the preceding words.
Philippians 4:20: “To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (NIV).
Notice that he does not pray in a selfish way, nor does he seek benefits for his own. Paul’s prayers ending on Amen are not prayers for more money, a newer car, or even an easy and more secure life. No, his prayers are prayers for God’s glorification and the spreading of the Gospel. These are the things that apostle Paul gives his affirmation to.
So, as you pray, instead of Amen, finish with “So let it be!” and you will see yourself the difference. When the use of the word is so automatic as it has become today, it not only loses its meaning, but the words spoken before that can so easily be influenced by the world around us. You can avoid the selfish and wrong prayer as you continually remind yourself of the meaning of Amen. Also, pay careful attention to the fact that God will most likely not give His affirmation to the majority of things from this world that we often desire to pray for.
An Amen at the end of the prayer is also an indicator of your faith. Finishing your prayers with Amen hoping that by some magical and mystical way it will make your wishes come true will not get you far. Yet, praying in God’s will with faith that He alone is the one able to do all things and for Him there is nothing impossible… Then you will see the power of the words “So let it be!” These are not words of doubt or desperation, but words of hope and faith. And namely this is what God desires for your life to have – a sincere hope and faith in Him.
An example for such faith you can find in 1 Peter 5:10-11: “And the god of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (NIV).
Just a verse earlier Peter is warning about the evil plans of the devil, but his hope for the believers is just as great as his faith in God. Because of this, while knowing that it will be so difficult, he can pray powerfully for you and for me.
So, do you pray properly and with faith? As surprising as it might sound, the answer to this question you will find in the last word of your prayers – Amen.