In his book New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional, author Paul David Tripp writes in his September 13 entry about the “seven ways in which prayer is rooted in worship.” Our focus here will be on Tripp’s second point that “prayer bows to God’s glory.”
It’s easy to make a list of prayer requests and bring them before our maker. And God makes it clear that he wants to know what’s on our hearts in Philipians 4:6-7 (NIV) when the apostle Paul writes:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
However, Jesus says that “… your Father knows what you need before you ask him … (Matthew 6:8b NIV).” Prayer is not like playing a blessing slot machine, where we go to put our requests in to get earthly blessings out. We’re called to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests,” as the scripture says in Ephesians 6:18a (NIV). God demands and deserves our praise and worship. That praise and worship can take many forms, from acts of service and the way we treat others to the words we say in songs and in prayer. In Psalm 77:13 (NIV), the Psalmist writes what should be a common refrain in the posture of our prayer: “Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?”
Truly, as we “consider all [his] works and meditate on all [his] mighty deeds (Psalm 77:12 NIV),” what can we point to in this life that is greater than our God? Money, possessions, and even people will all fade away in this life. But God is with us “to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20b).”
In this entry of his book, Paul David Tripp writes that “[prayer] flows from the understanding that it is only when you live for the glory of God that your heart can rest content.” Nothing in this world can satisfy our hearts like God. The nature of man is to search high and low for things that will fulfill us. We may look to a spouse or partner, job, children, or hobbies to find ultimate fulfillment. And while those earthly relationships and objects aren’t inherently evil, when something replaces God as our priority in worship, that’s when we find ourselves falling out of step with our creator and God’s plan for our life.
Jesus makes plain for us how to find rest in Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV):
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
By giving our lives to Christ and living for him, we can find ultimate rest and contentment. There’s no doubt that this life can cause us to be “weary and burdened” when we consider what we see on the news, the day-to-day struggles of raising a family, or just trying to do our best at work. However, God is always with us. And prayer provides a 24/7 line to speak with him. So, in times of need, in times of plenty, and in times of rest, give praise to the God who “… will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philipians 4:19b NIV).”
You can get your own copy of New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional on Paul David Tripp’s website.