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Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's Your Motive?

"I will not yield My glory to another." Isaiah 48:11

Yesterday a friend told me about his experience in praying for his butcher who was not a Christian. The man was suffering severe problems with his back, so much so that it prevented him from walking. My friend prayed for this butcher and immediately he was able to walk. However, the next time my friend visited the shop the pain had returned and the man could no longer walk. My friend prayed again with the same result as before. The next time he returned the situation was the same - the butcher was in pain and unable to walk. My friend felt prompted to ask if the man was seeking help from elsewhere as well as asking for prayer. He was seeing an osteopath.

God was miraculously healing the butcher each time he was prayed for, but he didn't believe he'd received a miracle and was still putting his trust in the doctor. God could not allow the man to keep his healing in such circumstances because he was not giving the glory to the Lord but giving the osteopath the opportunity to take credit for the miracle.

God Will Not Share His Glory
I believe that God does healing miracles in response to our prayers. I also believe He has given us the skills of the medical profession and will use them to bring us healing too. When I need healing I will ask for prayer but I will also visit the doctor. Whichever method the Lord chooses to use to heal me I will accept with thanksgiving to Him for His graciousness to me.

However, if the Lord chooses to do a miracle in my life and I subsequently attribute my healing to the work of doctors, I am on dangerous ground. The butcher was not a believer and did not want to give God the credit, the glory, due to Him.

Motives in Prayer
It's not just the person being prayed for who needs to be careful to give glory where it's due. Those praying can fall into the trap of wanting to make a name for themselves as having power in prayer. If I pray for someone and my prayer is answered, I must be very clear that it is the power of God and not my proficiency in prayer which has made the difference.

When I pray aloud in the company of others I have to be careful to remember that I am coming as a simple child to my heavenly Father. I don't need to impress Him with clever words, my knowledge of Scripture or a "holy" tone of voice. I must be careful not to pray to impress others. My motive must be to touch the heart of God, not those around me, otherwise I am trying to gain glory for myself and I should not expect that God will deign to share His glory with me by allowing others to think that the way I pray makes a difference.

Prayer College Assignment
Think about the way you pray in public. Do you try to impress people with your vocabulary or the length of your prayers? Do you feel pride when the Lord answers your prayers? When prayers are answered do you always give the glory to God are do you allow credit to pass to others? Our God is a jealous God. If we don't give Him the glory He's due, the power that is available to us in prayer will be diluted.

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