Teach Us to Pray: Week 8
Thomas Watson: “Putting God’s Glory above Our Own Needs in Our Prayers”
First, we pray “Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” before we pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” God’s glory ought to weigh down all before it; it must be preferred before our dearest concerns. Christ preferred his Father’s glory before his own as he was man. “I honour my Father, I seek not mine own glory” (John 8:49-50). God’s glory is that which is most dear to him; it is the apple of his eye; all his riches lie here. His glory is the greatest pearl of his crown, which he will not part with. “My glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42:8). God’s glory is more worth than heaven, more worth than the salvation of all men’s souls; better kingdoms be demolished, better men and angels be annihilated, than God lose any part of his glory. We are to prefer God’s glory before our nearest concerns; but before we prefer God’s glory to our private concerns, we must be born again. The natural man seeks his own interest before God’s glory. Let him have peace and trading, let the rock pour out rivers of oil, and let God’s glory go which way it will, he minds it not. A worm cannot fly and sing as a lark; so a natural man, whose heart creeps upon the earth, cannot admire God, or advance his glory, as a man elevated by grace does.
Do we prefer God’s glory before our private concerns? “He loves thee too little, who loves anything as well as thee which he does not love for thy sake” (Augustine).
Do we prefer God’s glory before our own credit? Credit is a jewel highly valued; like precious ointment, it casts a fragrant smell; but God’s glory must be dearer than credit or applause. We must be willing to have our credit trampled upon, that God’s glory may be raised higher. The apostles rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name,” that they were graced so far as to be disgraced for Christ (Acts 5:41).
Do we prefer God’s glory before our relations? Relations are dear, they are of our own flesh and bones; but God’s glory must be dearer. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). “If my friends,” says Jerome, “should persuade me to deny Christ, if my wife should hang about my neck, I would trample upon all and flee to Christ.”
We must prefer God’s glory before estate. Gold is but shining dust: God’s glory must weigh heavier. If it come to this, I cannot keep my place of profit, but God’s glory will be eclipsed, I must rather suffer in my estate than God’s glory should suffer (Hebrews 10:34).
We must prefer God’s glory before our life. “They loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:2). Ignatius called his fetters his spiritual jewels; he wore them as a chain of pearl. Gordius the martyr said, “It is to my loss, if you bate me anything of my sufferings.” This argues grace to be growing and elevated in a high degree. Who but a soul inflamed with love to God can set God highest on the throne, and prefer him above all private concerns?
~ From The Lord’s Prayer