How Is God Glorified Through Prayer?
As believers, God’s Word instructs us to glorify God in everything that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). As we live our lives and are involved in various activities, both big and small, we are to pursue God’s glory. And one way we can do this is through our prayers. Just as God was glorified when Jesus spent time in prayer, God is glorified when we delight in spending time with him. My desire for this article is for us to be encouraged to pray, and to pray in a way that gives God all the glory that he alone deserves.
God Is Glorified When We Pray To Him
If we are honest, our sinful human nature is drawn towards approaching prayer as a means to fulfil our own selfish desires and wants. However, we see a very different approach towards prayer in Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 14:13: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son“ (emphasis added). This provides us with the ultimate purpose of our prayers—to glorify God. Having this realisation would certainly have an impact on the way we pray and the things that we pray for. The Apostle Peter tells us to cast all our anxieties to God in prayer (1 Pet. 5:7). And the Apostle Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything, but to present our requests to God in prayer (Phil.4:6). We must not shy away from expressing our anxiety to God, but should always ask ourselves how we are glorifying God in our requests. As we pray, let us be careful not to be self-centred, but to come before Him and pour out our hearts. Our very act of praying brings glory to God because it reveals that we are creatures who need our Creator.
God Is Glorified In Prayer As It Shows Our Need For God
When we pray, it is a sign that we don’t trust our wisdom, strength and resources. The Psalmist writes that in his distress, as he was surrounded by enemies he put his trust, not on men but he took refuge in the Lord (Ps. 118:5, 8, 9). Psalm 79:9 says, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; And deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake.” Psalm 143:11 says, “For the sake of Your name, O Lord, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.” Similarly, 1 Chronicles 16:35 says, “Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us and deliver us from the nations, to give thanks to Your holy name, and glory in Your praise.”
All these passages indicate how God is glorified as we confess our utter dependence on Him and as we confess that we need Him. Prayer is not about our strength, it is not about being confident and taking pride in our own strength. Instead, it is about accepting our helplessness, weakness and seeking God, asking God, praying to Him to help us so that He gets the glory as He answers our prayers. Therefore, the joy in the prayers getting answered, being delivered from trouble is not about personal achievements or about congratulating ourselves for being a successful prayer warrior. It’s not about promoting ourselves as someone special whose prayers are so powerful that God was bound to answer us. Rather it is all about God and His glory. God answers our prayers because it brings glory to His name. This means we should repent of the times when we steal that glory by taking pride for our prayers being answered. And while we acknowledge our need for God, we approach Him not with a sense of entitlement, but with a desire for His will to be accomplished.
God Is Glorified As We Surrender To His Will In Prayer
As believers, it is a great privilege that instead of worrying or being anxious, we can bring our requests to God in prayer. At the same time, we should also remember that this privilege does not give us the liberty to ask for whatever we want. In order to glorify God in prayer, we must ask wisely, not carelessly. It means that in order for our prayers to be heard by God, we should ask according to His will (1 Jn. 5:14-15). Thoughtless prayers, selfish prayers, and prayers done merely to fulfil a sense of duty do not bring glory to God because such prayers are not focused on God. Either we are just doing a formality, or we are self-focused and just want an immediate solution for our problems. Therefore, in prayer, we are not to ask for things which just suddenly pops up in our mind. Instead, we ask according to His will so that God gets the glory as His will is done. Our Lord Jesus prayed this prayer in His anguish in Gethsemane, “Not my will but yours be done” (Lk. 22:42). This is the example of prayer that we are following. We cast our anxieties on our Father, and ask Him to accomplish His will in order for Him to be glorified.
So, let us reflect on our prayer life and evaluate how we have been glorifying God in the past days or weeks or months. Have we been glorifying God through our prayers? Have our prayers been selfish and self-centred? It would be a good practice for us to include in our prayers the things that God has commanded us to pray for, such as for those who persecute us, for the authorities, for fellow believers. We can include prayers of thankfulness and adoration and praises in our prayer time. We can meditate on the prayers mentioned in Scripture so that we can behold the beauty of the gospel and glorify God in our prayers.
As we reflect on our prayer lives, we should remember that prayer is not just limited to times of private/personal prayers. We may pray in our families, and as Christians, we are also to pray corporately in our local church. In all our prayers, let us remember that our desire should be the same – Glorifying God through our Prayers.
May God be glorified as we seek to glorify Him through our prayer.