Prayer Begins and Ends with God
“The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer.” R. A. Torrey
Prayer starts with God and ends with God. Our prayer must be born in the will of God. And the goal or end of our prayer must be to glorify God. God is the beginning and the end. The Alpha and Omega of any true prayer. We cannot simply go to God in prayer and ask him to endorse and fulfill things that we have come up with–our laundry list of prayers. To do that is rebellion against God; it is rebellion by a weak person. We go to God because we want Him to do things we want which we have no power of doing. We have rebelled against God’s will and come up with ours. We go to God because we are powerless to carry out our own will. It’s almost as though we go to God to borrow power from him to do what we want. When we are done, we go our way and forget about God. If we had the power to do the things ourselves, we would have no need of God whatsoever. Since we are weak, we go to God so that he can accomplish the things we want.
What’s in our prayers for God.
Because of our self-centeredness, we are prone to consider prayer only from the human side. However, the right way to view prayer is from God’s point of view. God is the one who invented prayer. Why did he invent it? For his glory! Before we pray, we must try to view our prayer from God’s point of view. Does it fulfill the purpose for which God invented prayer? We must ask ourselves, “Why should God answer our prayers?” We have a conception of God that puts God usually in a place where he exists to serve us and to meet our every need, but that’s not biblical at all. The Biblical position is a God who reigns supreme and who seeks nothing but his own glory. God is preoccupied with his own glory. He has ears for nothing except the things that glorify him.
Let me put it bluntly, imagine an extremely weak and needy person were to appear before God’s throne; shabby, without clothes, hungry and never having eaten for a week and near death. Imagine the worst possible case that you can and have that person appear before God. God is not going to say, “Oh, pitiful person, I need to help this fellow.” No, he will say “How shall I I glorify myself because of you? How can your situation bring me glory?” If God is glorified in healing you immediately and providing you with everything you need, then that is what will happen without difficulty. No person can stop God from doing that. But if God will be glorified more by this person dying or being swept away by a hurricane or swallowed up in an earth quake then that’s what is going to happen. No one can stop that either. Notice that it is right for God to treat us and all things like this. We were created for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. We have no needful existence apart from glorifying God. If God were able to forsake his glory and worry about our situation, he will be doing us a great disservice. God didn’t only create us for the purpose of bringing him glory. He created us in such a way that true joy, fulfillment and purpose can only be found in doing what glorifies God. It doesn’t matter whether we are living happily, crushed completely, dying or decaying. True, lasting joy, fulfillment, and purpose can only be found in doing what brings glory to God. It’s not about us–it’s about God.
In John 21:19, the Bible records, “Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.” By dying a particular kind of death, Peter would bring glory to God. Peter was crucified upside down and that is how he glorified God. He actually chose to be crucified that way. All the apostles, except John, would be martyred to glorify God. John was the only one recorded who went to the cross with Jesus. Perhaps he had already died to glorify God by not saving his life like the others but loosing it; risking it by being there. “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Luke 17:33
Look at the story of Job. The Bible records Job as a “blameless–a man of complete integrity” (Job 1:1 NLT). Job 1 & 2 shows that for no apparent wrong that Job did, God had a discussion with Satan in which he teased Satan and boated about Job; essentially daring him to touch Job. Satan ran his mouth that if God tormented Job, Job will curse him in his face. God gave Satan permission to torment Job; God clearly did this for his glory. It is almost like God was telling Satan that even though he got Adam and Eve to sin, in his sovereign will, he can still raise people that will not bow a knee to Satan’s tricks. God proved the point and glorified himself. But Job paid a tremendous price. When Job complained about his torment, God rebuked him for complaining (Job 38-41). In chapter 42, Job repents. God ends up blessing Job double for everything he lost. A lesson that God taught in the book of Job is that He has the right to take glory over us even when we may feel like we are being utterly destroyed. As creatures, our rightful mindset should be one that we say, “Whatever brings you glory Lord, I want to do it.” This is the heart that Jesus had. That is the essence of the cross. Imagine humiliation that Jesus had to go through. In reality, we, being born of the earth, cannot understand fully what Jesus went through. He is God — worshiped and glorified in heaven. For him to leave that throne and come to earth and be crushed by those he created, whom he can blow away with the breathe of his mouth, is unimaginably painful.
It’s all about God’s glory.
It has been said prayer moves the hand of God. Prayer moves God to do things he would otherwise not do. The mystery lies in God’s glory. If a person can predict accurately what will glorify God most, he or she can know the answer to every dilemma. God takes glory of everything that happens. Take a Superbowl game or a World Cup championship game. Do you want to know which team will win? The outcome that will bring God the most glory will happen. The truth is, we don’t always know and can’t always know which outcome will glorify God the most. Our ignorance also adds to God’s glory.
Our God is extremely self-centered. And that is good and glorious because he is the center of everything. He holds everything together. Who would we expect to be the center? Us?
God is always thinking about his glory. He does nothing except for his glory. To win, always seek the side that brings God glory. If you are a pursuer of God’s glory in everything even in breathing and eating, living and dieing, then you are a winner in everything.
My prayer is that God will help us to consciously and unconsciously pursue his glory all the time. That when we wake up in the middle of the night, our goal is God’s glory. When we wake up in the morning, we are thinking God’s glory.
We are created to “glorify God and to enjoy his grace for ever”. That’s our purpose. Our prayers should be in line with our purpose. We must pray on purpose. To achieve this purpose, we must seek to know God and to make him known to the ends of the world. God is like a King bent on conquest. He has conquered us and is glorified in us. We must join his army and conquer new territories for our king. The strategy for glorifying God is to “go and make disciples of all nations…”
God is love. Why is God love? For his glory.
God is merciful. Why? For his glory.
God is gracious. Why? For his glory. God’s grace is for God’s glory.
God is all-powerful. Why? By nature. But that is for his glory.
Do you want to know why Jesus died on the cross for us? For God’s glory. It’s not because of us. God loves us for his glory (not because of us) and because of that, Jesus died for us. The favor that God bestowed on us for his glory could have been bestowed on any creature. God could have made cows in his image. If he had, he would have died to save cows, not because of cows, but for his glory. So as a race, we are not special in and of ourselves. We are special because of the value God has placed on us for his glory.
It’s all about God’s glory. It’s not about us.