Don’t Save “Amen” Until the End of Your Prayer

If-you-asked-David_Frenette

Amen.

It’s not just an ending for prayers.

Amen literally means “so be it” or “let it be.” We often use it to close our prayers.

  • But what if we opened our prayers with amen?
  • What if we met each morning with amen on our lips?
  • What if we lived daily moments breathing in and out, amen and amen?

Listen to David Frenette explain this “so be it” attitude in The Path of Centering Prayer.

“If you asked me how you could meditate, how you should relate to God, how you might pray, I would whisper, ‘Amen.’ If I remember only one simple thing at the end of my own life, I hope it will be amen.

~ * ~ * ~

“After any petition or prayer, ‘amen’ is the so be it, the let it be that releases that prayer or petition into God, with a radical trust that nothing more needs to be said, nothing else needs to be done.”

We say amen to fully agree with . . .

  • acknowledging God’s presence
  • accepting his will
  • believing his truths

“At some point, all contemplative practices end with the attitude of amen—so be it, let it be—radical consent to receiving God. That is the reward of the interiority, the secrecy, the living relationship with God of which Jesus spoke.”

Picture this imagery from Frenette. Our lives are feature films, and God is the background screen upon which these stories are held.

“God’s presence in awareness is like the cinema screen upon which all of a film’s images are projected. At the movies, we normally are quite caught up in its drama and not aware of the screen.

At the end of the movie, if we stay long enough, we will finally see the screen that was there all along, silently, secretly holding the film.

Similarly, at the end of your own movie, your own life’s story, you will experience the reality that silently, secretly held you throughout your whole life: God’s presence. Why not realize this presence during life? Then, you can be aware of God at the same time as you live your ordinary life. You can be at one with the screen and the movie at the same time.”

end-of-the-movie-david-frenette

Unity with God involves opening our hands to receive what he gives, while releasing our grip on everything else.

“Contemplative practice is not something you do to find God. Contemplation involves being found by God.

May it be so.

Amen.

* * *

Is it hard or easy for you to live amen? Please share in the comments.

19 thoughts on “Don’t Save “Amen” Until the End of Your Prayer

  1. blankMichele Morin

    Spring is finally coming to Maine and the other day I was walking the dog in beautiful sunshine, tiny tips of red buds made a lovely haze around all the trees, and without thinking, I heard myself saying, “Amen.” I pondered the choice of wording at the time, and now you’ve added some more thoughts!

  2. blankCeil

    Hi Lisa! I really like that movie screen metaphor. I have often thought about being at the movies being a lot like being with God in every-day. We all look to the Lord, all have an experience of him like a movie playing. Yet we all come away with different ideas of what we just saw!

    Amen. Let it be. What a powerful prayer of surrender…
    Blessings,
    Ceil

  3. blankTrudy

    As I read the beginning of this post, my thoughts were – “Wow! That’s something to think about!” To start our day with “Amen” would make such a difference, wouldn’t it? This also gives me pause to reflect -“Unity with God involves opening our hands to receive what he gives, while releasing our grip on everything else.” The more we truly surrender what we want to what He wills, the more peace He will give. Thank you, Lisa, for these thoughts that help me to search my heart. May it be so! Amen! Blessings and hugs to you!

  4. blankJean Wise

    wow I really like this invitation to say amen even at the beginning of prayer. Wouldn’t it make a great breath prayer too? Love this post. shared it on Facebook!

  5. blankKathy

    This is beautiful Lisa! I love the movie analogy!And living the Amen now, not waiting for the end! I just love the idea of starting a prayer with Amen..just beautiful. I have a completely new outlook on Amen now, thank you for such valuable insight! Blessings!

  6. blankSharon

    Lisa, I thoroughly enjoyed this post!! I loved the imagery of the screen holding the film. That truly spoke to me. Especially this: “…you can be aware of God at the same time as you live your ordinary life. You can be at one with the screen and the movie at the same time.” Love that.

    And, I was really moved by the concept of *amen*. I had forgotten that it means “let it be” or “so be it.” Your question at the end, is it hard or easy for me to live a life of amen – well, I think you know me well enough to know that it doesn’t come easy. My anxiety drives my need for control. And when life spins out of control, especially in the lives of the ones I love, I am anything but *amen* about it!

    Oh that the Lord would teach me, help me, to not lean on me – but to turn not only the words I say and pray, but the attitude of my heart, over to His purposes and plans, trusting His goodness and wisdom.

    Amen? Yes, amen…

    GOD BLESS!

    (Happy Mother’s Day, dear friend)

  7. blankBetsy de Cruz

    “Amen” communicates to me a simple trust that God is doing what is best, and I can trust Him. I find it difficult to rest in that. I’d rather try to tell Him what to do!!! Interesting food for thought here.

  8. blankDavid

    Dear Lisa

    That’s an exciting challenge, to live in that vibe the whole time – but exhausting, no? Maybe have the word – and its meaning – at the ready to help me notice moments of harmony.

    I still haven’t caught up with your Greek series on Do Not Depart 🙁 but seeing this post I recall reading somewhere about the different ways “Amen” is used in the Bible: Isaiah 65:16 is the “God of Amen”; Jesus would often open speeches with Amen (“Truly …”) eg Matt 5:18. (from memory so might be wrong – don’t have a Hebrew/Greek bible on my phone lol)

    David

  9. blankLori

    I’ve never thought of starting my day with amen. I love this idea and will definitely be thinking more on this. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

  10. blankDeb Wolf

    Amen! It’s so important to live it. It’s part of surrender and complete trust. How well do I live it? I have so many ways I could do better, but it is my hope and my prayer. Thanks for this. You’ve given me lots to think about. Blessings!

  11. blankJune

    Such freedom! To truly begin our day, saying to the Lord, let it be so. According to Your will, Lord, not mine. To truly embrace this every day. Please, Lord, Amen!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Embracing every day as it comes…it’s not really my preferred method. ha. I’d rather plan it out ahead of time. But I know it’s the best way! Learning to trust God more daily. Thanks for your encouragement, June.

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