PSALM 27:4 – One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE GREATEST PRAYER PETITION. Jesus makes a very profound statement and promise halfway through the section of John’s gospel titled “The Upper Room Discourse” (John 13-17). He said, “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24).
We ask God for a lot of things in our prayer lives. Nothing wrong with asking. See Jesus’ words again. As the God of love and our Heavenly Father, He delights in showering His children with blessings from answered prayer. But there are two very real dangers lurking in the heart of a praying Christian.
First is the danger of mechanical or form prayer. Jesus warns of this type of external and cold prayer in his Sermon on the Mount – “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7). Empty phrases would be “form letter” type praying; same words, same script. It is mindless repetition lacking vibrant interpersonal reality between God and the praying believer. Another example of empty phrases would be simply having a prayer life that is all about getting something from God. It is one way, sending Him a laundry list of things. They may be good things, but “thing based” praying will become just like vain repetitions; lifeless and mechanical.
The second danger is the failure to fervently petition to the Lord for the best thing. Yes, there is a best thing to ask God for. It is found in today’s scripture. It is Himself. Asking God to grant a greater knowledge and experience with Himself is not only the best prayer petition, but our most needed prayer petition. It is why we were created. It is why we are Christians. There is nothing of higher value and priority in life than for God to unveil Himself more and more to our hungry souls through His Word as it is bathed in prayer. In today’s scripture, feel the passion and resolve of the Psalmist in his praying. He wants God to give him Himself; the spiritual experience of seeing the beauty of holiness. This is, and this alone is, what satisfies the human soul. And this is what should be the prayer passion in God’s people. The Apostle Paul penned these words to the Corinthian church – “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). It would be a helpful step in learning to consistently praying the greatest petition if we alter his words and pray like this, “Father, may you be pleased by Your Word and Spirit to reveal to my heart and mind the glory, beauty and majesty of Your Son?” And then after we pray such a deeply spiritual petition, establish a daily habit of disciplined time in the Word and prayer seeking the answer to our own prayer. It will prove to be the greatest experience in all of life and set us on course to live the rest of our lives basking in His glory, anticipating the time when we will do so by sight, not faith.
PRAYER: “Father, grant me a deep desire to fellowship with You; to behold Your glory; to bask in Your beauty.”
QUOTE: “The one thing necessary in all of life is close fellowship with the Lord; to know Him and enjoy Him.”