The sixth line of the Lord’s prayer is, “For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.” It is a fitting summary because the entire prayer is about God’s kingdom, God’s power, and God’s glory. God is unspeakably majestic and powerful, and the kingdom he promises to consummate will radiate his majesty and power.
The kingdom is God’s. The kingdom is not Satan’s, but his. Not ours, but his. Not our nation’s, but his. This is the implicit declaration we intend every time we take the Lord’s Supper or recite the Lord’s prayer. When we pray, we are recognizing that the only rightful King of the world is its Creator, the God of Jesus Christ.
The power is God’s. As creator and sustainer of the universe, God holds all power. Any power exercised by Satan or by humans is derivative. So, when we pray, we are praying that God will enable us to exercise our own power in a way that conforms to God’s will, all the while longing for the day when God will cleanse the world of all misuse of power.
The glory is God’s. God does all things for his glory. In one way or another, each of his actions brings glory to him. So, when we pray, we are praying that God will empower us to glorify himself in our dispositions, our words, our actions. We are prayerfully longing for the day when he will set the world to rights so that it uniformly praises him.
How will God enact this prayer in our lives? By helping us bear his image in a way that directs all power and glory toward God the King.
Historically, Christians have used the word “office” to describe God’s calling of humanity to administer and manage his good world. It is an assignment that focuses on our calling to serve God and others within the context of a community or multiple overlapping communities. Each of us holds office by virtue of being created in God’s image. And when God calls us to an office, he not only gives us the authority due that office but also the power to fulfill the tasks of that office.
The notion of office is essential to our being. The most basic one is the image of God. When we fulfill that office, we are loving and serving God, ourselves, and our neighbors. When we corrupt that office by worshiping idols, we mistake ourselves for God and we warp and twist everything we touch. Cascading from the office of “imager” are many other offices, such as “parent,” “political leader,” “religious leader,” and “workplace leader.”
To hold the office God has given us is to mediate God’s rule to his world. In other words, we stand in office under God and over the rest of creation. As conduits of God’s love and wisdom, we should lovingly and wisely manage his good world. In our office as humans, God delegates certain authority to us as but also proscribes the boundaries of that authority; he holds us accountable to answer for our actions; and he calls us to proclaim and promote his kingship in all we say and do.
Thus, as we recite the Lord’s prayer meaningfully, focusing on the last line of the prayer, we learn the daily habit of offering our “office” to the Lord. We recognize that we are not the King, but instead are ambassadors of the king. We remember to tap into his divine power so that we can utilize the human powers he’s given us in a way that gives the glory to him rather than to ourselves.
When we recite the Lord’s prayer, we are evoking the name of he who is the King over all kings, he who is Stronger than the strong, he who is more Majestic than the beautiful. It is to appeal to the one who has asserted rulership over the rulers, defeated the power of the world with the power of the cross, and outshone the glory of the world with the glory of his resurrection.
Each day, therefore, offer praise to God that the kingdom, the power, and the glory are his. Not ours, but his. And pray that our dispositions, words, and actions, will conform to that glorious reality.