It has taken me a while, but I’m catching on to something about prayer. The more I loop through the psalms in my daily devotional plan, the more I am noticing an interesting angle that David used in his prayer requests, something that may have given them a bit of an octane boost.
What I am noticing is that David often connected his prayer requests to the glory of God. Rather than just asking God to help him for his own sake, David would ask God to help for God’s own name, or reputation’s sake. In other words, David asked boldly for God to intervene in his life, but it was with a grander vision than just his own relief. It was so that the glory of God would be more powerfully on display.
Here are a couple of examples where David uses what I call the glory argument:
You are my rock and fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger. -Psalm 31:3
For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble! -Psalm 143:11
The reason God should hear his prayer and help him, David argues, is so that he could in turn do what he was created to do – to represent God well in the world and give Him praise. If God let David sink, his testimony would sink, too. But if God answered his prayer, David would then be alive and well and in a position to show everyone how good and faithful God is.
Interestingly enough, Jesus also connected prayer to the glory of God. Notice what He said to his disciples:
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” -John 14:13
Prayer is ultimately aimed at the glory of God.
As we pray and ask God to do something today – whether it is to help us overcome a chronic struggle, restore a relationship, heal a loved one, or revitalize our faith community – our ultimate motivation for asking should be that the glory of God would be in better view if God did what we were asking Him to do.
“Dear God, we come to You today with our requests and we ask that You will do these things for Your Name’s sake, so that You would be glorified by what happens in each of these situations. Forgive, heal, and restore us so that we would be better representatives of You in this world, a world that desperately needs You. This is our ultimate desire – that You be glorified. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.
“David based his petition on the glory of God, not his own selfish desires.”