READ: Psalm 74, Daniel 7-9, Luke 2, 1 Corinthians 9
FOR GOD’S SAKE
“For the Lord’s sake, cause your face to shine on Your sanctuary which is desolate.” (Daniel 9:17)
God answers our prayers for His own sake. The heart of humanity longs to be the center of something, and the long journey to being like Jesus slowly helps us realize that only when God is the center of everything–even answered prayer–will we be satisfied. The phrase “for God’s sake” has become an oath, a curse uttered in frustration. It is a vulgar cloaking of an eternal truth: all things, including answered prayer, are for the glory of God–not the glory of humanity. Everything that God does, He does for His own glory and purposes; everything we do likewise should be for God. The only reason this concept offends and unsettles us is because at our core we want to be the center of the universe. The sanctification process is a long lesson in embracing Jesus as the center.
We must learn to approach prayer for God’s sake. Daniel reminds us that “we do not present our supplications before you because of our righteous deeds, but because of your great mercies” (Dan. 9:18). If we merited answers to our prayers, the answers would be for our sake because we deserve to be helped or healed. But if we are completely undeserving of deliverance, then when our petitions are granted, it must be for some reason other than our deserving, and the only possible reason is that God deserves glory for us gaining an answer.
We must be careful to always approach prayer knowing that any answer is for the sake of the supplier not the supplicant. This is a difficult lesson for us–to make prayer God-centric in answer as well as in petition. We see a widow in need, a child with cancer, an impoverished people in darkness and we pray as if they deserve deliverance. When we make the person in need the focus of prayer’s result, we subtly shift God from the center of answered prayer and insert ourselves–for any man or woman in the equation ultimately represents us.
God revives us for His own sake. Not even our renewal and refreshing is for or about us. God heals that He might be glorified. God supplies that He might be worshiped. God forgives that He might be exalted. God delivers that He might be adored. God meets us that we might magnify Him. God acts to make Himself look good, not to exalt man or woman. Let us cease approaching God for answers on behalf of ourselves. Let us learn to approach God for the defense of His own honor, for the glory of His name. Let answered prayer be sought for God’s sake.