To pray for God’s glory is to embark on the most exciting adventure we could ever im
agine. Since God is motivated by His own glory and created us for this very purpose, His glory is our destiny, the key to joy inexpressible (Is. 43:7; 1 Pet. 1:8). But how do we live for God’s glory and pray for it? First, we need to know what it is.
Here are three key elements from Scripture:
- God’s glory as ESSENCE. All that God is—His character, attributes and ways. When Moses asked God to show Him his glory, God said He would reveal His goodness, mercy, and compassion. John wrote that when Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us, we saw His glory, full of grace and truth. The psalmist tells us that the heavens are declaring God’s glory, day after day imparting knowledge about Him to us (Ex. 33:18-19; Ps. 19:1-2; Jn. 1:14).
- God’s glory as EXHIBITION: The ways in which He reveals Himself. Whatever we experience of God, it is because He has chosen to reveal it by His grace. The Israelites saw the glory of God on Mount Sinai like a cloud for six days, and often His glory filled the tabernacle, appearing to all the people in some fashion (Ex. 24:16; 40:35; Lev. 9:23). The greatest manifestation of God’s glory was seen in Jesus, who was the radiance of the Father’s glory. We are born again when God shines His glory in the face of Christ into our hearts (2 Cor. 4:6; Heb. 1:3).
- God’s glory as EXALTATION: Man’s response to God’s glory. Isaiah saw God’s glory in the temple and was humbly readied for the mission field. The shepherds saw God’s glory and fell down to worship. We glorify God or give Him glory by the ways we respond when we experience His worth (Is. 6:1-8; Mk. 9:5; Lk. 2:9).
These three facets of God’s glory form a cycle that plays beautifully into His plan to fill the earth with His glory (Num. 14:2; Ps. 72:19; Hab. 2:14). In infinite ways, God reveals Himself to man, opening the eyes of our heart to taste and see that He is good. When we do that, our desire for more of Him causes us to devote ourselves toward His exaltation. It is important that our lives reflect this cycle completely. If we are not experiencing the exhibition of God’s glory in a personal way, we will seek to glorify Him through duty-driven works. On the other hand, if we experience God’s exhibition, but don’t participate in His exaltation, spiritual gluttony will eventually rob us of joy, and Jesus of appropriate worship.
Here are some ways to think of this cycle:
God shows His glory, man savors His glory, and then shines His glory forth in deeds, words, love, and worship.
God displays His glory, man delights in His glory, and then declares His glory to all peoples of the earth.
God manifests His glory, man marvels at His glory, and then magnifies His glory through praise and thanksgiving.
God reveals His glory, man revels in His glory, and then radiates His glory in relationships with others.
God communicates His glory, man contemplates His glory, and then is conformed to His glory, carrying it to a lost and dying world.
This is the blessed delight God planned for us from before the foundation of the world—to gain His glory and give Him glory. Let us live in its wonder and pray toward its fulfillment!
—Tricia McCary Rhodes
Tricia McCary Rhodes is an author and a teacher whose ministry flows from a deep desire to see Christ exalted. Her husband is pastor of New Hope Church, where the two of them have ministered for over 20 years. She lives in San Diego, California. Her new book The Wired Soul releases this summer.
Illustration by Simon Shaw
Used by permission of Pray! Copyright © 2003, Issue 35, The Navigators. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. www.navpress.com.