How to Pray Appropriately
Effective prayers in the Old Testament frequently called upon God to protect the honor of His name. Then, as now, Satan is not after us. He is out to make our Lord appear weak, uncaring, and unfaithful.
King Hezekiah must have understood that. When the king of Assyria sent a terrifying word to him, he 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" (Isa. 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."
We easily say we desire to glorify God, but then when we are in a crisis, our prayers focus on our own deliverance. Rather than being deeply concerned with how the outcome will cause others to perceive God, we simply want relief. Could it be that at times we might more honestly pray, "May our name be honored"?
When we seek to honor His name, when our lives and our prayers are all about guarding the honor of His holy name, we discover that our own needs are fully met.
Dear God, enable us to care deeply for the honor of Your Name. May all temptations to desire personal gain more than Your glory be revealed, confessed, and cleansed.
"When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (James 4:3).