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I Don’t Know Why I Pray

September 26, 2011

Do you love God? Why?

Is it really because He is good, or is it because He does good for you?

Is it because He is merciful, or because He is merciful to you?

I was praying for a friend one morning last week, a friend whose family is in a bad season. The kind that pushes mortality and eternity right up to your face, the kind that asks hard questions about healing and hell.

So I prayed for healing. I stood on the authority of the Name, and asked that God would intervene for His glory. I prayed every way I knew how, but He interrupted me,

“If I wasn’t going to get the glory, would you still ask for healing?”

Probably. No one wants a loved one, or the loved one of a loved one, sick and suffering. But then, am I really asking because my heart’s desire is to see the name of Jesus lifted up … or because I dislike suffering?

I pushed the question aside and moved on.

More importantly, I prefaced, and set into whatever angle I knew to pray for someone’s salvation.

“What is more important than Me being glorified?”

That is difficult.

That is not the Rich Grandpa God that I pray to. That’s not the voice of the Slot Machine God that I worship, or the Eager To Please God that I love.

God is love, and He did pay for sin and sickness on the cross, and He does give us power over our enemy, and He does want every last person to come to salvation. Our God loves to answer prayer, and bless His people, and forgive.

But He also asks, in Romans 9,

Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction …

Same God.

Do I love all of Him?

Because, really, this whole thing is about Him. This is His creation, designed to bring Him glory. I was created so that I could, if I chose to, experience Him; there’s nothing greater or higher for me to do. The Law demonstrates His holiness. The Cross demonstrates His mercy and love, and allows us to experience Him. When His mercy is complete, He’ll end creation as we know it and we’ll all be given what we chose – Him, or not Him.

There’s nothing else.

Jesus glorified the Father in everything He did. Is my ambition to glorify my God, or to make myself – and others – happy, by His power? Am I asking for what I want, what I think is right, and trying to convince Him to do it by arguing that He’ll be glorified in the process? Or am I looking around me for situations that will glorify Him, and praying them through?

Because He isn’t always glorified through my requests. Sometimes people get healed, and they don’t thank Him. Sometimes they get delivered, and they don’t surrender to him. Sometimes situations turn around for our comfort, or our pleasure, and we just give Him a wink and move on.

If He wasn’t going to be glorified in the end, would I still make that request? What if His glory caused me pain, would I still seek it?

How much do I love Him? How much do I trust Him? How loyal is my heart?

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