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“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me” (Ps 31: 1 – 3)
David is asking the Lord for His help. He needs rescuing and there’s an urgency in His voice (“come quickly to my rescue”). But he is not just reaching out for a change to his situation. The Lord’s name is at stake too.
He is not content to cry “get me out of here!” He is praying for God’s leading, God’s divine guidance and he wants to make the right call for the sake of His name.
It makes me wonder about times when I pray for help, whether a prayer for provision, rescue, healing or wisdom. Do I only pray for my need, or do I also pray, ‘Lord, I want you to be glorified in this’? Lord, for the sake of your name, let this be the outcome that most glorifies you.
We can often be so focussed on our situation, the pain or problem that stands in front of us that we forget the bigger picture: God’s name is at stake. How I handle the situation before those who are not believers will affect their perception of God, Christians and the Church. Do I pray that Godly character shines through me when others wrong me? Do I pray that His will be done over mine? Am I more concerned about my reputation or Gods?
We live in a self-absorbed world. Selfies, personal profiles and the number of Likes on a Facebook page are the norm. But the community of God’s family is built on a different foundation.
For example, Paul instructs the Philippian church to “in humility value others above yourselves”, to do nothing out of selfish ambition (Phil 2: 3) and the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples (and us) to pray contains the famous line “your will (God’s will) be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6: 10).
The heart of Jesus was to bring glory to His Father (John 14: 13) and even as he faced the terrible spectre of the cross in his final impassioned prayer before His arrest, alongside His prayers for himself, Jesus’ desire was that His disciples would know the Father. He wants His Father to be glorified.
No wonder Jesus came from David’s line. David sets the bar for Godly praying. Pray for yourself, yes, but then step back and view the bigger picture: Whatever it is that you are going though, God’s name is at stake. Pray that His name be glorified.
Suggested prayer: Pray for your own needs but then try to view things from God’s perspective. Ask for the help, wisdom and guidance you need for the sake of His name. Pray that He be glorified in the situation you are in.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Terry Nightingale is a pastor serving in the southern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, having previously worked in Christian education both in the UK and Perth. He graduated from Vose Seminary with a Masters in Divinity in 2016. He loves sharing the Gospel and teaching the Word of God.
Terry and Sue arrived in Australia in 2003 from the UK for a 1-year adventure. They never returned! The beaches, the sun and God’s call upon their lives persuaded them to settle in the land ‘down-under’. Today they have two grown-up children both married, with four grandchildren and counting.
Terry writes a popular weekly blog at terrynightingale.com called ‘4-minute Devotions’, short Bible -centred messages for the busy Christian on the go. He also writes Christian worship music and plays the guitar.
Looking Back To Move Forward is his first non-fiction book for Christian leaders – in fact for anyone who occasionally faces discouragement or setbacks. His second book, based on his blog, is entitled Bite-Size Devotions For The Busy Christian.