The Unifying Effect of a Corporate “Amen” in Worship.

We discover that the corporate “amen” has been the practice of the people of God in the past and will be perpetuated throughout eternity. 

A corporate “amen” during praise of God

Psalm 106:48, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD!

A corporate “amen” following a prayer

Nehemiah 8:6, “And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”

A corporate “amen” during the telling of the law

Throughout Deuteronomy 27, many verses end with, “And all the people shall say ‘amen’”

A corporate “amen” during the heavenly worship of God

Revelation 19:4, “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”

The corporate “amen” is a verbal affirmation of what is being prayed, read, sung, or said.  During corporate worship, it is both the Biblical pattern and appropriate to offer a corporate “amen” after a public prayer is spoken, after the reading of Scripture, at the conclusion of a hymn, and during the sermon.  These corporate “amens” are a tangible expression of the fellowship and solidarity we share as the people of God as we worship Him together.

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2 thoughts on “The Unifying Effect of a Corporate “Amen” in Worship.

  1. Greetings, Doug,

    One of your Baptist heralds (or one who has heralded this blog to his brothers) sent me over here via a notice on Facebook via Google Buzz.

    I come as a cradle Baptist, now an Anglican priest, to say “Amen,” and to report that the corporate “Amen” is very much alive and well in Prayer Book parishes and has been for about 500 years now. Obviously, as your blog shows, they didn’t invent it! But, they do follow the Biblical precedent with gusto.

    A Prayer Book worship service is riddled with short pithy prayers, the ends of which are always obvious because the invocation at the end is formulary. They all invoke the name of Jesus, for example, in something like this, at the end of the corporate confession: “Grant this, for Jesus’ sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.” or something similar.

    As these prayers are said — by the priest, or deacon, or a lay reader — and he comes to the end, the congregation joins him firmly and confidently in the “Amen.”

    We have other, similar congregational Amens that use other words. For example, at the end of the reading of a portion of Scripture (one from the OT, another from the Epistles, one from the Gospels) the reader will say “The Word of the Lord!” and the congregation responds “Thanks be to God,” or in the case of the Gospel reading “Praise be to Thee, Lord Christ!”

    Throughout the Prayers of the People, as the leader reads each of the set prayers, he concludes it with, “Lord, in your mercy …” and the congregation responsds “Hear our prayer.” There are two places where individuals in the congregation may offer audible prayers, which (because they’re good Anglican pray-ers) always end in such a way that everyone knows when to join them at the end with corporate “Amen.”

    Everything you’ve written in this blog is true, and the members of St. Athanasius parish, if they read this, would say “Amen!”

    Together.

    Blessings on your labors in the Lord,

    Fr. Bill

  2. Fr. Bill,

    I appreciate the referral from Ryan. There’s a guy with some readers. I’m acquainted with you because I’ve read some of your comments on Ryan’s blog.

    I must say, of the responses you listed I have a special affinity for the Scripture reader’s statement: “The Word of the Lord!” and the congregation’s response: “Thanks be to God.” I also enjoy antiphonal psalms and have employed these on occassion for our call to worship.

    As you know, there is something very precious about a united “Amen!” heartily spoken by the people God.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Grace and Peace,

    Doug

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