Jump Start # 2732
Galatians 6:18 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.”
Our passage has a word that I want us to look at today. It’s a simple word. It’s a word we use all the time. It’s the word, AMEN. At the end of every prayer we say, “Amen.” It just wouldn’t feel right to end a prayer without an “Amen”. Some of our songs conclude with the word Amen, but most song leaders skip that. The word “Amen” means, “so be it,” or, “I agree with what was said.” Sometimes when the preacher is really pouring it on, someone will say from the audience, “Amen.” Years ago, I was preaching in a little place and I had to stop my sermon and kindly correct a man in the audience. I was doing a lesson about young people. I was running through some sad statistics about teen suicide, drug use, and immorality. The guy kept “amening” all those bad things. I stopped and told him not to say Amen. We don’t agree with those bad things. After services, nearly half the church thanked me. They said he was always saying Amen at the wrong time.
I’ve also heard preachers call out for an AMEN. “Do I have an Amen on that?” they’ll say. That never did sit well with me. An amen ought to be natural, not forced and called for. I wonder what would happen if the preacher said, “Do I have an amen on that,” and someone shouted, “NO.”
Sometimes I wonder if saying Amen to the end of our prayers makes us think that we’ve done all that we ought to do. “I’ll pray for you is wonderful,” but what happens after you say AMEN? At home around the kitchen table, when you say amen, you grab your folk and dig in. You see, Amen isn’t the end. It’s simply the conclusion of our prayers. After praying, comes our action.
- We pray for the sick. After Amen, we ought to call them and see how they are doing. We ought to send them a card. We ought to take some food over. Just saying “Amen,” doesn’t clear us of all our duties toward the sick.
- We pray for the church to grow. What happens after the “amen?” Well, we need to do our part to help the church grow. We need to talk to our family and friends about Jesus. We need to let our lights shine. We must be godly examples for others. We need to encourage hope and build faith in the Lord. The amen is said, but the church isn’t going to magically grow. God gave the increase in Corinthians. He gave that increase after Paul and Apollos planted and watered. Had no seed gone into the ground, there wouldn’t have been any growth. God is partnering with us. He’s not going to do it alone and neither do we do it alone.
- We pray that the shepherds make wise decisions in leading the church. What happens after the Amen? Do I follow their lead or am I one to complain and gripe about the elders to anyone who will listen. Do I demonstrate my loyalty, dependability and accountability to them or are they always wondering where I am? Do I wander off? Am I a stick in the mud? Am I always chasing the latest fads that carries me away from the Lord? Pray for those shepherds, but what happens after the amen?
All of this reminds us that once the prayers have ended, my service, my obligation and my work has just begun. I need to get in there and roll up my sleeves and get busy in the kingdom. Prayer is powerful and it needs to be an important part of our lives. Yet, prayer without any action becomes hollow words. It’s like the guy who complains about things but never does anything himself. I want the church to grow. Great. What are you doing about that? I want the sick to get better. Good. Are you helping them out?
It’s a lot easier to pray than it is to follow those prayers with action. Sitting in a church house praying about the growth of the church is fairly easy and tame. Yet going out the next day and talking to co-workers about the Lord is a lot harder to do. Praying to God about a sick person is a lot easier than picking up the phone and having a conversation with them.
So the two elements that are necessary are first to be praying and then secondly, to follow those prayers with actions. It always seems odd to me to hear a man pray at the end of Sunday morning services, “Bring us back next time Lord,” but then that evening that very person isn’t there. It’s not just once in a while, he does it every time. If we don’t intend to put any action behind the prayer then we ought not to pray those words.
God can do amazing things when we invite Him and work with Him. But don’t close the door on God by asking Him to do things and you don’t follow those words without any action on your part.
After the amen…sure is something to think about.