In Prayer: The Meaning of Amen

Amen. The word is a carry-over from Hebrew language. It is used some 72 times in the Old and New Testaments. The root meaning of the word indicates firmness, dependability, and certainty. It is easy to see how this term came to be associated with God’s truth and faithfulness. And when uttered by human beings, it is a way of saying, “Yes, I agree!” or, “May it be so!”

1)  When Jesus precedes a statement in the gospels with “Verily, verily, I say unto you…” (sometimes translated “Truly, truly…” or “Most assuredly…), He is literally saying, “Amen, amen, I say to you…” (Jn. 5:24; 12:24; 13:38). In other words, “What I am saying is true and faithful. You can definitely count on it to be so.”
2)  The Lord Jesus calls Himself “the Amen” (Rev. 3:14), because through Him the promises of God are steadfast and certain (II Cor. 1:20).

3)  The expression is found at the end of Bible prayers, to indicate, “So be it! May it be so!” (Ps. 41:13; 72:19; Eph. 3:21). In a similar way, it is used at the end of a vow, showing agreement and acceptance of the vow– “So be it! I agree!” (Deut. 27:14-15).

4)  When we read or hear of the promised blessings of God, and respond with a hearty “Amen!” we affirm our confidence in their fulfilment (Rev. 22:20).

5)  In the early church, it was apparently common for members of the congregation to say “Amen,” at the end of prayers (I Cor. 14:16). Of course, Amen-ing in public worship can be overdone, becoming a meaningless and distracting habit. But spoken sincerely, and used thoughtfully, the word is a declaration of faith that honours the Lord.

6)  This is an expression the saints will also use in heaven. When an exclamation of praise is uttered, it will be a fitting way to respond and show our agreement (Rev. 5:13-14).