When you pray and ask the Lord for good, what reason do you give to the Lord? Often when we ask God to please do something, we add to that request a “because.” WE ask God to heal a sick mom, because she has little ones who need her. We ask God to provide for our financial need, because we want to be able to continue to honor him in all our dealings.
It is interesting, when we look at Scripture, to see the motivation that is behind many a prayer. It is not the same as is often prominent in today’s world.
4 Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
In Psalm 6, David is in significant danger. People want to kill him. And David is asking God to spare him. Notice here the reason that David offers the Lord for sparing his life. In simple terms, David asks God, “Keep me alive so that I can praise you.” David says that, if he dies, his voice of praise to the Lord will be silent.
Now, to avoid confusion, this is not David failing to believe that there is life after death. It is David saying that it is a good thing for the living to praise the Lord. David knows that those who pass on have eternal souls. But David also knows that the creation exists for the praise of the Lord, and it is a good thing when God’s people declare his glory.
Let me suggest that we make David’s motivation in this prayer a significant one for us as well. When you pray, how often is your prayer motivated by something other than the praise of God? How often do you give God all sorts of reasons behind your prayer that are not his ultimate priority? God loves us and cares about our needs. God loves his church. But let’s not be confused about what God is doing in the world. God is about his praise resounding from every corner of the globe. God is focused on being glorified. God is God’s ultimate priority, and this is good.
Think about this as you pray for your church or your family. Why should God grow your church? If your motivation for that prayer is primarily to keep the church alive, go deeper. If your priority for praying that people come to faith is ultimately the comfort of their eternal souls, go deeper. Friends, having strong churches and saved souls is good. But, understand, the reason churches need to grow, and souls need to be saved is so that the people God has created will rightly praise the Lord. I’m not saying God does not love us and care for us. I’m saying that, if we are to pray in tune with God’s ultimate priority, we pray that his name be praised and glorified from now until forever. Indeed, we pray, “Hallowed be thy name,” and we know that this is a prayer in concert with God’s ultimate will.