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Amen and Praise the Lord

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 16:36


To place context to today’s verse, the Ark of the Covenant had just returned to Jerusalem, and David appointed Asaph and his choir to sing a song that begins:


Give praise to the Lord, 

proclaim his name; 

make known among the nations what he has done. 

Sing to him, sing praise to him; 

tell of all his wonderful acts. (v. 8-9)


Following this psalm of thanksgiving, all the people are instructed to respond with “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”


Those of us who worship in the staid liturgical tradition are used to saying “Amen” at the end of a prayer and “Praise the Lord” as a congregational response to a prayer. However, for folks worshipping in the Pentecostal tradition, it is not unusual to hear those words said spontaneously during the service. For example, when the pastor says something that speaks truth to someone, they may respond, “Amen” (or, Preach! Which is not covered in today’s devotion.)


But what do these two words mean that were said by everyone in agreement on that particular day?


The word “Amen” is a Hebrew word that means “truly, verily, so be it” or “let it be true.” It is used to affirm and agree with what has been said or prayed to express the trustworthiness and faithfulness of God and to honor and glorify God for who he is and what he has done. 


Jesus often used Amen to introduce his teachings, especially when he corrected errors or revealed truths about himself, God the Father, or the future. He said, “Amen I say to you” or “Truly I say to you” to emphasize the certainty and authority of his words. In the Gospel of John, Jesus repeats this expression to introduce his teachings and emphasize their certainty and authority. He said “Amen, Amen” or “Truly, truly” 25 times in the King James Version, more than any other Gospel. For example, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)


“Praise the Lord” is a phrase that expresses joy, gratitude, and worship to God, the Creator and Savior of our souls. It means acknowledging and honoring God for who he is and what he has done for us. It also means to agree and affirm his truth and promises. Praise the Lord is found many times in the Bible, especially in the Psalms, which are songs of praise to God. When the people join in this expression, they celebrate and glorify God. 


Whether these expressions are said spontaneously or liturgically is a matter of tradition. But when spoken by everyone, it is done for a specific purpose. It is a unified expression of our acceptance of God’s truth and gratitude for his gifts. 


Heavenly Father, we praise You for being our God and Savior who created, redeemed, and sustains us. You are holy, faithful, and powerful; we worship you with all our hearts. 


We confess sinned against you in thought, word, and deed. We have not loved you with all our hearts, nor have we loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not obeyed your commands, nor have we followed your ways. Forgive us, Lord, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 


Thank you, Lord, for your mercy and grace, for your forgiveness and salvation, for your provision and protection, for your guidance and presence. Thank you for all the gifts and opportunities you have given us and for all the ways you have blessed us. We give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. 


We ask you to save us from our enemies, the troubles and trials we face, and the temptations and snares we encounter. Gather and deliver us from the nations, the evil and wickedness that surround us, and the false and harmful influences that affect us. 


Help us be faithful and obedient to you, loving and compassionate to others, humble and grateful in all circumstances. We trust in your will, and we submit to your authority. 


In Jesus’ name, we pray.


Let all the people say, “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”


Blessings,

Pastor Tim


If you would like to read more on the story of 1 Chronicles, you can see my post from last week, God’s Presence (pearlstreetumc.org)




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