|`That the Father may be glorified;' Or, The Chief End of
I go unto
the Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name, that will I do, that
the Father may be glorified in the Son.'-JOHN xiv. 13.
THAT the Father may be
glorified in the Son: it is to this end that Jesus on His throne in glory will
do all we ask in His Name. Every answer to prayer He gives will have this
as its object: when there is no prospect of this object being obtained, He
will not answer. It follows as a matter of course that this must be
with us, as with Jesus, the essential element in our petitions: the glory
of the Father must be the aim and end, the very soul and life of our
It was so with Jesus when He was on earth. `I
seek not mine own honour: I seek the honour of Him that sent me;' in such
words we have the keynote of His life. In the first words of the
high-priestly prayer He gives utterance to it: Father! Glorify Thy son,
that Thy Son may glorify Thee. `I have glorified Thee on earth;
glorify me with Thyself.' The ground on which He asks to be taken up into
the glory He had with the Father, is the twofold one: He has glorified Him
on earth; He will still glorify Him in heaven. What He asks is only
to enable Him to glorify the Father more. It is as we enter into sympathy
with Jesus on this point, and gratify Him by making the Father's glory our chief
object in prayer too, that our prayer cannot fail of an answer. There is
nothing of which the Beloved Son has said more distinctly that it will glorify
the Father than this, His doing what we ask; He will not, therefore, let any
opportunity slip of securing this object. Let us make His aim ours:
let the glory of the Father be the link between our asking and His doing:
such prayer must prevail.
1 This word of Jesus comes indeed as a sharp
two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and quick to
discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. Jesus in His prayers on
earth, in His intercession in heaven, in His promise of an answer to our prayers
from there, makes this His first object-the glory of His Father. Is it so
with us too? Or are not, in large measure, self-interest and self-will the
strongest motives urging us to pray? Or, if we cannot see that this is the
case, have we not to acknowledge that the distinct, conscious longing for the
glory of the Father is not what animates our prayers? And yet it must be
Not as if the believer does not at times desire
it. But he has to mourn that he has so little attained. And he
knows the reason of his failure too. It was, because the separation
between the spirit of daily life and the spirit of the hour of prayer was too
wide. We begin to see that the desire for the glory of the Father is not
something that we can awake and present to our Lord when we prepare ourselves to
pray. No! it is only when the whole life, in all its parts, is given up to
God's glory, that we can really pray to His glory too. `Do all to
the glory of God,' and, `Ask all to the glory of God,'-these twin
commands are inseparable: obedience to the former is the secret of grace
for the latter. A life to the glory of God is the condition of the
prayers that Jesus can answer, `that the Father may be
This demand in connection with prevailing
prayer-that it should be to the glory of God-is no more than right and natural.
There is none glorious but the Lord: there is no glory but His, and
what He layeth on His creatures. Creation exists to show forth His glory;
all that is not for His glory is sin, and darkness, and death: it is only
in the glorifying of God that the creatures can find glory. What the Son
of Man did, to give Himself wholly, His whole life, to glorify the Father, is
nothing but the simple duty of every redeemed one. And Christ's reward
will be his too. Because He gave Himself so entirely to the glory of the
Father, the Father crowned Him with glory and honour, giving the kingdom into
His hands, with the power to ask what He will, and, as Intercessor, to answer
our prayers. And just as we become one with Christ in this, and as our
prayer is part of a life utterly surrendered to God's glory, will the Saviour be
able to glorify the Father to us by the fulfilment of the promise:
`Whatsoever ye shall ask, I will do it.'
such a life, with God's glory our only aim, we cannot attain by any effort of
our own. It is only in the man Christ Jesus that such a life is to be
seen: in Him it is to be found for us. Yes blessed be God! His
life is our life; He gave Himself for us; He Himself is now our life.
The discovery, and the confession, and the denial, of self, as usurping
the place of God, of self-seeking and self-trusting, is essential, and yet is
what we cannot accomplish in our own strength. It is the incoming and
indwelling, the Presence and the Rule in the heart, of our Lord Jesus who
glorified the Father on earth, and is now glorified with Him, that thence He
might glorify Him in us;--it is Jesus Himself coming in, who can cast out
all self-glorifying, and give us instead His own God-glorifying life and Spirit.
It is Jesus, who longs to glorify the Father in hearing our prayers, who
will teach us to live and to pray to the glory of God.
what motive, what power is there that can urge our slothful hearts to yield
themselves to our Lord to work this in us? Surely nothing more is needed
than a sight of how glorious, how alone worthy of glory the Father is. Let
our faith learn in adoring worship to bow before Him, to ascribe to Him alone
the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, to yield ourselves to dwell in His
light as the ever-blessed, ever-loving One. Surely we shall be stirred to
say, `To Him alone be glory.' And we shall look to our Lord Jesus with new
intensity of desire for a life that refuses to see or seek ought but the glory
of God. When there is but little prayer that can be answered, the Father
is not glorified. It is a duty, for the glory of God, to live and pray so
that our prayer can be answered. For the sake of God's glory, let us learn
to pray well.
What a humbling thought that so often there is
earnest prayer for a child or a friend, for a work or a circle, in which the
thought of our joy or our pleasure was far stronger than any yearnings for God's
glory. No wonder that there are so many unanswered prayers: here we
have the secret. God would not be glorified when that glory was not our
object. He that would pray the prayer of faith, will have to give himself
to live literally so that the Father in all things may be glorified in him.
This must be his aim: without this there cannot be the prayer of
faith. `How can ye believe,' said Jesus, `which receive glory of one
another, and the glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not?' All
seeking of our own glory with men makes faith impossible: it is the deep,
intense self-sacrifice that gives up its own glory, and seeks the glory of God
alone, that wakens in the soul that spiritual susceptibility of the Divine,
which is faith. The surrender to God to seek His glory, and the
expectation that He will show His glory in hearing us, are one at root:
He that seeks God's glory will see it in the answer to his prayer,
and he alone.
And how, we ask again, shall we attain to it?
Let us begin with confession. How little has the glory of God been
an all-absorbing passion; how little our lives and our prayers have been full of
it. How little have we lived in the likeness of the Son, and in sympathy
with Him-for God and His glory alone. Let us take time, until the Holy
Spirit discover it to us, and we see how wanting we have been in this.
True knowledge and confession of sin are the sure path to
And then let us look to Jesus. In Him we
can see by what death we can glorify God. In death He glorified Him;
through death He was glorified with Him. It is by dying, being dead to
self and living to God, that we can glorify Him. And this-this death to
self, this life to the glory of God-is what Jesus gives and lives in each one
who can trust Him for it. Let nothing less than these-the desire, the
decision to live only for the glory of the Father, even as Christ did; the
acceptance of Him with His life and strength working it in us; the joyful
assurance that we can live to the glory of God, because Christ lives in us;--let
this be the spirit of our daily life. Jesus stands surety for our
living thus; the Holy Spirit is given, and waiting to make it our experience, if
we will only trust and let Him; O let us not hold back through unbelief, but
confidently take as our watchword-All to the glory of God! The Father
accepts the will, the sacrifice is well-pleasing; the Holy Spirit will seal us
within with the consciousness, we are living for God and His
And then what quiet peace and power there will be
in our prayers, as we know ourselves through His grace, in perfect harmony with
Him who says to us, when He promises to do what we ask: `That the Father
may be glorified in the Son.' With our whole being consciously yielded to
the inspiration of the Word and Spirit, our desires will be no longer ours but
His; their chief end the glory of God. With increasing liberty we shall be
able in prayer to say: Father! Thou knowest, we ask it only for Thy
glory. And the condition of prayer-answers, instead of being as a mountain
we cannot climb, will only give us the greater confidence that we shall be
heard, because we have seen that prayer has no higher beauty or blessedness than
this, that it glorifies the Father. And the precious privilege of prayer
will become doubly precious because it brings us into perfect unison with the
Beloved Son in the wonderful partnership He proposes: `You ask, and
I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.'
`LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.'
Blessed Lord Jesus! I come again to
Thee. Every lesson Thou givest me convinces me more deeply how little I
know to pray aright. But every lesson also inspires me with hope that Thou
art going to teach me, that Thou art teaching me not only to know what prayer
should be, but actually to pray as I ought. O my Lord! I look with
courage to Thee, the Great Intercessor, who didst pray and dost hear prayer,
only that the Father may be glorified, to teach me too to live and to pray to
the glory of God.
Saviour! To this end I yield myself to Thee
again. I would be nothing. I have given self, as already crucified
with Thee, to the death. Through the Spirit its workings are mortified and
made dead; Thy life and Thy love of the Father are taking possession of me.
A new longing begins to fill my soul, that every day, every hour, that in
every prayer the glory of the Father may be everything to me. O my Lord!
I am in Thy school to learn this: teach Thou it me.
Thou, the God of glory, the Father of glory, my God and my Father, accept the
desire of a child who has seen that Thy glory is indeed alone worth living for.
O Lord! Show me Thy glory. Let it overshadow me.
Let it fill the temple of my heart. Let me dwell in it as revealed
in Christ. And do Thou Thyself fulfil in me Thine own good pleasure, that
Thy child should find his glory in seeking the glory of his Father.
1See in the note on George Muller, at the close of this
volume, how he was led to make God's glory his first
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