‘Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God.’ That’s a simple but profound quote left to us by Billy Graham. But prayer seems to be the subject of a great many questions. How come? If you have questions, don’t feel bad. You’re in good company! The disciples had questions, too. They said to Jesus, Lord, teach us to pray. Jesus’ response is what we call the Lord’s Prayer or Model Prayer. But that’s not the only place we can learn about prayer.
Model Prayer: OLD TESTAMENT
Exodus 32 is a great primer on prayer. Moses went to Mt. Sinai to receive God’s law. He came down to find God’s people worshiping a golden calf. Something very important happened between those two events.
God told Moses to go down to the people. Then He told Moses to: Leave Me alone so My anger may burn against this sinful people – Exodus 32:10). If that happened, the people would be destroyed. While God could have remade the nation out of Moses and his descendants, Moses offered a prayer that can still teach us a great deal.
“O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'”
Prayer: What IS & ISN’T Said
Absent in this prayer: 1) Personal requests, 2) Anything focused on Moses.
Present in this prayer: 1) Desire for God’s glory, 2) Desire for God’s fame among the nations, 3) Desire that God not be mocked in the eyes of men.
Wanting another person to receive glory, fame, and not be mocked is easy to define as love. Love seeks the good of its object. To pray like Moses is more than a repetition of his words. It requires in us a passion for God and His glory. It requires a passion to see Him lifted up, even if that means I (the one praying) am not seen or noticed. He is the object of our affection and our prayers should be for His good, His glory, and His honor.