When a friend heard her pastor was getting a divorce, she wept."I was not weeping for their children," she said. "I was weeping for Christ." She felt sorrow for the children, but her deepest concern was for the Name of Christ.
Right at the opening of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, "Holy be thy name," or, "May your name be honored." Effective prayers in the Old Testament frequently called upon God to protect the honor of His name. God cannot resist our prayers when our greatest concern is for God's holy reputation.
King Hezekiah must have understood that. When the king of Assyria sent a terrifying word to him, Hezekiah prayed, "Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God" (Isaiah 37:18, 20).
More than his own survival, Hezekiah wanted God's name to be honored. As John Oswalt appropriately states, "What happened to Judah was not of ultimate importance; what happened to God's name mattered to all eternity."
In Ezekiel 36:20-23, God declared five times that His disobedient people had profaned His holy Name. He promised to give them new hearts and put His Spirit in them, but He announced: "It is not for your sake...but for the sake of my name." He must act to salvage His own reputation. God will have a people through whom He could show His holiness. (Ezekiel 36:23).
---Ask God to cleanse His people so others see His holiness in His people. "It is time for you to act, LORD; your law is being broken" (Ps. 119:126).
---Pray that He will give us His deep sorrow when there is immorality, unforgiveness, pride, disunity or any other sin in the Church hurting God's reputation.
Dear Lord, will You do something for Your Church to restore the fame of Your name? Reveal any prayer I pray that is not wholly for Your glory. Give me a deep hunger for You to be honored. Purify Your Church for Your sake, O Lord!
"Although our sins testify against us, O LORD, do something for the sake of your name. For our backsliding is great; We have sinned against you" (Jeremiah 14:7).
"Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake" (Psalm 79:9).