Jesus taught that as His followers pray, our priority should be the recognition and reverence of God’s name in the whole earth. Although we might grow in our commitment to this aim even as we pray for it, we can also be assured that God Himself is committed to the glory of His own name throughout the world.
The pages of Scripture are replete with acknowledgments of the glory of God and exhortations to glorify Him. That’s the theme of the second half of the seraphim’s song in Isaiah 6:
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Armies;
his glory fills the whole earth.
The writings of prophets like Habakkuk reveal a longing for the world to be filled with the glory of the Lord (see Hab. 2:14). God refused to share His glory or praise with idols in passages like Isaiah 42:8. In fact, the glory of the Lord was a tangible reality in certain sections of the Old Testament.
God’s glory was like a white-hot, “consuming fire” on top of the mountain when the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Ex. 24:17). Moses was hidden in a crevice of a rock as the glory of the Lord passed by Him (see 33:22). And the glory of the Lord consumed the sacrifice and filled the tabernacle when it was completed (see 40:34-35).
The prophet Isaiah reflected God’s desire for His own glory:
Look, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
I will act for my own sake, indeed, my own,
for how can I be defiled?
I will not give my glory to another.
God does many things, but behind them all is a commitment to His own glory. He saves for His own glory. He delivers for His own glory. He judges for His own glory. God always acts for His own glory, and this pursuit is not only good and right but also loving.
While any human being who acts in a self-glorifying way is rightly seen as egotistical, boastful, arrogant and selfish, it’s entirely appropriate for God to seek His own glory. That’s because of all the beings in the universe, God is the only One who actually deserves the glory. So whenever we hold something higher than God in our hearts, we call that thing an idol. If God desired something other than His own glory, He would by definition become an idolater.
God’s glorious name should be the driving force behind our prayers, just as it’s the driving force behind all His actions. For that reason when we pray, we must ask God to bend our hearts to His ways, to create in us a greater love for His glory and His name so that we truly desire what He desires.
Excerpted from Steve Gaines, Pray Like This Bible Study. © 2017 LifeWay Press. Used by permission. LifeWay.com/PrayLikeThis
This article originally appeared here.