God’s mission is to make His glory known, and this is the best news possible. Why? Because His glory is most fully displayed when His people delight in Him. As John Piper said, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” All that God has done -- blessing, redeeming, choosing, predestining, adopting, etc. -- is directed toward the joy of His people and the glory of His name. The two are inseparable.
In Ephesians 1, Paul lists out what God has done for His Church and then offers insight into Paul’s own prayer for the saints. He asks that their eyes would be opened and their hearts overjoyed by the hope that they have been given in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For Paul, there is no necessary contradiction between God’s sovereign purpose to engage His saints and the call to pray for God to work in their lives. God will accomplish His plans. He will enlighten, convict, regenerate, justify, sanctify and eventually glorify His people, but He will often do it through the prayers of the saints. We would be naïve to think that revival, restoration and recovery will come if we simply sit back and do nothing. This is not a denial of God’s absolute sovereignty, but a biblical recognition of how His providence extends even to our prayers.
We have an opportunity to pray similar prayers for those around us today. We have the chance to offer up thanks to God and petition Him to change hearts and lives for their joy and His glory.
Reflection and Intercession:
- Are your prayers more consistently for the blessings of health and wealth or for blessings such as open eyes and humble spirits?
- Why do you think that God intends to accomplish His sovereign will through the prayers of His people?
- Confess any shortcomings in the consistency or content of your prayers.
- Confess any confusion or disbelief regarding the relationship between God’s sovereignty and prayer.
- Praise God for the mystery of His sovereign use of prayer to accomplish His will.
- Praise God for His promises to hear and respond to His people’s prayers.
- Ask God to cultivate a greater longing for prayer.
- Ask God to help any degree of unbelief you may have regarding His desire to hear and respond to your prayers.