It’s no denying that our western culture has heavily influenced us towards a me-focused mindset. We’ve been trained to turn our eyes inwards and not turn back until everything is happy and content inside. We’ve been shaped to want more and more for ourselves – believing that more and new equals satisfaction. A local tech shop’s motto rightly transcribes our culture’s repeated phrase: “I want that.”
Unfortunately, this me-focused mindset has seeped into the church. We can often look to the church, the Bible, and the gospel with selfish intentions. I catch myself more often than not spending the majority of my prayer time thinking about me! I recently highlighted this relevant phrase in a Charles Spurgeon devotional,
“Let not your prayers be all concerning your own sins, your own wants, your own imperfections, your own trials, but let them climb the starry ladder, and get up to Christ himself, and then, as you draw nigh to the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat, offer this prayer continually, ‘Lord, extend the kingdom of thy dear Son.’”
In other words, stop just praying for you, but pray for Christ’s Kingdom to reign!
I was also stopped in my reading of the first two verses of Psalm 67, which reads,
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.”
If you’re like me and have been steeped in a me-focused reality (and if you read this verse correctly), it’s as if a pale of water has been thrown in your face. And it all comes down to that one word: that.
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,” is a great prayer! Who doesn’t want God’s grace? Who doesn’t seek God’s blessing? And why wouldn’t we want his face to shine upon us? But then there’s that. In other words, “May God be good to us, so that…” As you can see, there’s a reason for our receiving God’s grace and blessing on us. And it’s not solely for our enjoyment and pleasure.
“May God be good to us, so that your way and saving power may be known in the world.” Yes, our prayer for God’s goodness on ourselves is ultimately for an evangelistic purpose. God desires that his way and saving power be known in all the earth. He wants to see his glory fill the earth by saving sinners.
And one of the main ways he does this is by us – the church. God is teaching us here to renounce our me-focused mindset and pray for God’s grace and blessing on our lives for the purpose of making the gospel known.
Don’t hear me wrong. I encourage you to pray for God’s grace for yourself. But it doesn’t end there. There’s a greater purpose going on. Life is more than you. It’s about God’s glory in the salvation of sinners, and you play a part in it! When God shows you mercy and blesses you, he’s revealing his glory so that others might see and believe.