When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, we know Jesus’ response as The Lord’s Prayer. Were they looking for a ‘formula’ in order to get prayer ‘right’ every time? Probably. Do we do the same thing? So let me ask, what kind of prayer does a person pray if they are deeply in love with God? Let’s see one!
Exodus 32 is a marvelous primer on prayer. Moses went to Mt. Sinai to receive the Law of God. He came down to find the people worshiping a golden calf. We often skip, or don’t remember, what happened between those two events.
God told Moses to go down (v. 7) because the people are engaged in idolatry. God then told Moses to leave Him alone (v. 10) so His anger could burn against the sinful people. If that happened, the people would be destroyed. God is capable of making a nation out of Moses and his descendants. Moses then (v. 11) begins a great prayer and it teaches us a great deal regarding prayer. Look at it:
“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.'”
There are some notable absentees in Moses’ prayer. Notice:
- No personal requests
- No focus on Moses (the one praying)
- No list of needs
We should also note of what is present in Moses’ prayer –
- A desire for God’s glory
- A desire for God’s fame (positive reputation) among the nations
- A desire for Goo to be exalted for Who He is
That’s a prayer offered in love. Love seeks the good of its object. In Moses’ case, the Object of his prayer was God. He wanted God to be seen and exalted among the nations in His great, radiant glory. To pray like Moses will not be a repetition of his words. However, it will require in our own circumstances, a passion for God and His glory. We must deisre to see Him uplifted even if that means I (the one praying) am not seen or noticed at all. He is the Object of our affection and our prayers should be for His good, His glory, and His honor. In the New Testament, this is what Jesus meant when He told us to pray in His name. Think about it!
Soli Deo Gloria!