Do you have a prayer list?
I’ve shared the template for my monthly family prayer list before. I also keep a list of current requests for other family, friends, or needs that I want to talk to God about.
Most of the time when you and I pray, we have an outcome we want to see. It may be that someone gets well, that God opens a door, closes a door, mends a broken relationship, or meets a financial need. The list could go on and on.
As I was reading R.A. Torrey’s book How to Pray, the following line stuck with me.
“The true purpose in prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer.”
So as we bring every concern, fear, hope, and desire to God in prayer, beyond all else, we should want God to be glorified.
If we have a self-centered purpose or wrong motive behind our request, it is highly likely that our prayer will not be answered. Remember what James 4:3 says?
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
In every request I make, my main desire should be that – no matter how God chooses to answer – He will be glorified.
What’s sometimes hard to accept is that God may be glorified by allowing us to continue in our trial, our sickness, our financial trouble, or dealing with our difficult child.
In our humanity, we don’t know the outcome that will bring the most glory to God. We have to trust that God will accomplish that goal as we surrender to Him.
Here’s a personal example. Our 18-year-old daughter will be heading to college in August. This month I started specifically praying for her roommates. I’m asking that God will put in her room girls that she can become good friends with. I’m praying that they will get
But I have to admit that God, knowing what is best, could potentially give her a roommate that’s hard to get along with. Maybe their personalities will clash. Perhaps one of the girls will disturb everyone else by staying up super late or being noisy when she gets up early.
(Admittedly I have flashbacks to a roommate during my junior year who would set her alarm clock at some extremely early hour, then hit snooze over and over and over. She could – and did – sleep through it, but it woke me up every. single. time. Mercifully she got transferred to another room for the second semester. Not that I’m still bitter over that, ha!)
Maybe God would be glorified by my daughter learning to live with a difficult person. Perhaps God knows she’ll experience more growth if she has to deal with some frustration.
Will that be easy for her (or her mom)? No. But I
“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.” ~Psalm 115:1
So maybe we need to say it out loud or write it in colored ink at the top of our prayer list.
Lord, as you hear the requests I make, may You be glorified in every answer.
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Cris Watson says
Such an interesting post on prayer! R.A. Torrey’s view of prayer is certainly not what we first think about when it comes to “asking and receiving” from the Lord! Thank you for this insight!
I know I’m typically more focused on getting the answer I want/need from God than I am on how He will most be glorified. Hope to remember to take this view more often from now on!!
I hadn’t thought of that as being the true purpose of prayer, but it certainly is. Everything we do should glorify God and prayer isn’t any different. Thank you for posting that quote and your thoughts about it. I’m going to have to remember this when I pray.
This hit me like a ton of bricks!!! I *LOVE* this shifting my perspective…not that it’s necessarily comfortable…
It certainly does to have the potential to be uncomfortable!! I’m reminded that it circles back to trusting God, especially when an answer to prayer seems delayed or isn’t the answer we’d hoped for.