THE CHANCES are you who are reading this article used a Hebrew word today and perhaps even more than once. It may well be the most universal word on earth, having found its way into the Spanish, French, German, Arabic and virtually every other language known to mankind. The word Amen is used by Christians, Jews and Moslems the world over as the close for their prayers. But why should one use amen? Is it the secret password that assures your prayer will be heard? Is it a "magic word" that promises an answer? Do you understand what it means? Do you know why you use it? Let's examine the background of amen. In the Hebrew language, the three letters constituting a verb also are a root from which many other words stem. A knowledge of these can serve to embellish the original meaning. Amen, for example, stems from the verb aman meaning "to support, confirm, or rear up" (Harkavy, Students' Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary). Amen itself means "truly" (ibid.). Christ often used this word in the New Testament, where (in the King James Version) it is translated "verily." Now just why should we use this word to close our prayers? In Matthew 6:9-13, where Jesus gave us the model outline for prayer, He shows us we should close our prayer with amen. But the use of amen goes back even prior to that time. In Deuteronomy 27, the word "Amen" is used twelve times. The Levites were instructed to speak and proclaim that those who committed various sins would be cursed. After each proclamation, the people were commanded to say "Amen." What is the significance? Related to the word "Amen" is the word amanah meaning "treaty, pact or contract." In saying "amen" the people were making themselves party to what the Levites had proclaimed. They were agreeing with what the Levites had said. They were in effect saying "so be it." Therefore, if somebody says or prays something to which you say amen, you are showing you are in agreement with what that person said. In I Kings 1:36, Benaiah shows his agreement with David's command that Solomon succeed him by saying "amen." The Apostle Paul has some words on this subject in I Corinthians 14. "Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue [a foreign language] pray that he may interpret. ... Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?" (Verses 13, 16.) Here Paul is asking, "How can a person make himself party to something he doesn't understand?" He can't rightly. We should be careful about what we say amen to. A Christian's word should be good. God will hold us to our word (Matt. 12:36). Jesus Christ Himself is called "the Amen" in Revelation 3:14. Amen is from the same root as the word amnam meaning "verily, indeed or truly." The Amen is the One who speaks truly, who means what He says. Also from the same root is the word amun meaning faithful, loyal and dependable. Jesus Christ is all these, and we must continually grow in these attributes as well. When we close our prayer with amen, we are telling God that our prayer has been faithfully and loyally offered up to Him. Amen therefore represents a final reaffirmation that we MEAN all that we prayed and truly take it seriously. Yet more light is shed on amen in II Corinthians 1:19-20. Paul writes, "For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us... was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." Paul is showing that God does not vacillate, and all His promises are as good as done. From amen comes the noun emunah meaning "faith, belief, trust and confidence." In God is our faith, our belief, our trust and confidence because we KNOW and have proven He keeps His word and will bring all His promises to pass. His promises are all "yea." When we say "amen" at the close of a prayer, we are telling God that our trust and our confidence are in Him. We are also telling Him that inasmuch as we have prayed in accordance with His will (Matt. 6:10), we do believe and have the faith that He has heard and WILL ANSWER that prayer. If you believe this, you should close your prayer with amen. So we see amen can make us party to the words of another. Though we never uttered them, it is as if they become our very own words. When we close our prayer with amen, we are saying to God we truly mean what we have prayed. We arc further saying that we fully believe He has heard that prayer and will answer it. Amen is one of those little words that means a very great deal!