Saying Amen in Our Assemblies
By Paul R. Blake
“Amen” may be one of the most ancient words in our language to remain in a nearly unchanged form from its earliest origins. It is one of the most well-known words across nearly all languages. Most of us use it every day, sometimes without realizing its significance. Tragically, men in the Lord’s Church do not say it often or loudly enough.
“Amen” is not just a word we say, but a decision we make. When we say it, we show our approval, our endorsement, our commitment to what was stated. Too often Christians let denominations dictate their speech; some sects use “Amen” and “Praise the Lord” so often it has become little more than a chant. However, saying “Amen” liberally doesn’t mean we have become liberal.
Have you carefully listened to the prayer? Do you agree with it? Then say, “Amen.” Do you strongly agree with something in the sermon or class? Then support the Gospel by saying “Amen.” “Amen” means so much more than the prayer is finished. It means: We apprehend and understand the prayer and preaching (1Cor. 14:15-16, 20). It means we affirm and approve the prayer and preaching (1Tim. 1:6-7; Psalm 106:48). And it means we agree and confirm our commitment to the prayer and preaching. When we say “Amen we agree to take action based on what we have affirmed (Ecc. 5:5; James 5:12).
Few are saying “Amen” in our assemblies. It is not a healthy indicator that we do hear “Amen” from only a very few in our worship. Why are you not saying Amen? Are you too sophisticated? Is saying Amen beneath you? What is really happening is you are voiding an apostolic instruction over personal pride. Are you too afraid or embarrassed? Are you are more afraid of sounding out of place than you are of disappointing the Lord? Is it too much trouble or too boring or not important? So understanding, approving, agreeing, supporting, and committing to the Gospel and prayer is not important to you? Do you really want to take that attitude to Judgment Day? You say it quietly to yourself? That entirely misses the point and purpose of saying “Amen.” If it is inaudible to others, it is as if you didn’t say it at all.
I find sad that here at Tomlinson Run there are more women asking me if it is scriptural for them to say “Amen” than there are men here with the courage to say it loud enough to be heard. We are not doing well.
There are far too many texts and examples of the use of Amen in the scriptures for brethren to relegate it to a minor, optional work. In 1Corinthians 14:15-16, the apostle Paul states an implied command that “Amen” is to be said at the end of prayer by those who heard the prayer worded. God’s faithful children say “Amen” (Deut. 27:11-16; Num. 5:22; Matt. 5:18; Mark 3:28; John 3:3; Deut. 7:9; Isa. 49:7; 1Kings 1:34-36; 1Chron. 16:35-36; Neh. 5:13, 8:3-6; 1Cor. 16:24; Gal. 6:18; Psalm 41:11-13, 72:17-20; Rom. 1:25, 9:5, 11:36). It is time for men here to say Amen.
Nobody Says Amen Anymore
By Ernestine Adkins
We come in early and take our pew,
And we sit there quietly for an hour or two.
The preacher has a cute little sermonette,
And he starts with a joke so we won’t forget.
Some of us mumble a few short songs —
No instrumental music, for we know that’s wrong.
We take communion with a somber face,
And we throw in a dollar when they pass the plate.
We repeat long prayers with heads bowed low,
Shake hands all around, grab our Bible and go.
The strongest of us will return at dark;
For when the doors are opened, we take our part.
In decency and order we place great store,
But nobody says amen anymore.