One Essential Prayer
There are many things that make up our prayer life. We pray for health when we or others are sick; we pray for needs to be met; we pray for the salvation or growth of friends and family. We also pray for our own personal struggles—for victory over a particular temptation, or for boldness in sharing the Gospel. We are also always praying for our church—for individual and corporate growth as we worship the Lord together—or, in light of the current circumstances, as we worship the Lord together while physically apart! In addition, we pray every day for whatever happens to be on our minds and hearts.
Is there one thing that binds these prayers together? I believe that there is—or should be! The Psalmist prayed in Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”
God has convicted me over the years that this prayer—the prayer that His Name is glorified—should shape all of my prayer life. Jesus himself taught us to begin our prayers this way: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)
I am not in any way saying that God is not interested in the daily details of my life or the situations we find ourselves in; we should of course take all things to him in prayer. My point, rather, is that as the desire to glorify the worthy name of our God increases in my heart, the more I will pray that he is glorified in everything I do, say, or even think—in any and all circumstances.
This is actually one of the unifying themes of Paul’s prayers for the churches he planted or personally ministered to—note 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus exemplified as well as taught this principle. In John chapter 12, when the hour of his suffering and death were rapidly approaching, he said “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” (Vs. 27, 28)
Maybe these examples from Scripture should shape all of my prayer life: “Not to me, but to your name give glory;” “Hallowed be your name;”
“Father, glorify your name!”